@Arnold, did you find that the profit motive at Freddie Mac made them much more customer oriented than the Fed? My experience at very large profit seeking institutions is that many workers end up shielded from customers and markets, leading to behavior that is like that of workers the non-profit sector. Yes, senior managers have that focus and line employees might too, but lots of folks don't.

My career advice is to pick a job you enjoy from the set of jobs that provides enough money, reasonable enough working hours, and in a location with a short commute to have stable home and raise a family. It won't do to hate your job for 40 years. It won't do to make so little that you can't live a decent life. It won't do to spend your whole life in traffic. If, after that, you have remaining degrees of freedom to optimize further, at that point I would worry about managerial quality, profit motivated institutions, and what human capital to develop to further your career.

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I agree with the overall idea of PSST, but my experience and the larger forces at work have indicated the opposite with respect to employment.

There's a lot more going on than "status".

More concretely, there's risk-aversion and long-term profit maximization. In a purely private sector job, I may make a higher salary, but I'm much more likely to have insecurity in my job. In the private sector, it's my experience that even when people are individually doing a "good job" they can lose their jobs. That's a significant cost.

At a societal level, it always seems to me that there should be a better possible tradeoff between "government job with almost complete security and stability" and "market job with utter insecurity and stability".

The current status quo heavily skews the talented but risk averse into government and education, where, frankly, most talents are wasted.

Market firms, on the other hand, make better use of talents, but the pressure and threat of being fired or simply having to uproot your family and move or change jobs is orders of magnitude higher, and that's something that a lot of people rightly shy away from.

I don't know that this is a market failure, per se. It's systemic, but it is a failure that's over time leading to bigger divergences and hence, bigger problems.

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