1. Who’s solid? Stable? A safe, long-term job?

In abundance, prepare for scarcity. (Mencius)

In recessions, investors flee the stock market for safety in US Treasury bonds. And artists, tired of layoffs in the private sector, look to the US government for solid, stable jobs that won’t go away with the first chill breeze.

Government work is diametrically opposite to freelancing. Couldn’t be more different. When you’re a Civil Service employee, you have job security. Have you ever heard of one single bureaucrat – ever – who voluntarily reduced the size of his department? You’ll always hear Congressmen babbling about reducing the size of government, but it never quite happens, does it? In the worst case, they’ll cut staff size by attrition – by not replacing workers who quit or retire – but layoffs, never.

State and city governments are not as secure, as they can’t print money (sell T-bills to the Chinese) to cover costs. Great work with super benefits in good times, but then. No, you’ll want to focus on the Federal government for job security.

Start at usajobs.gov ... and surprise! They sure make it easy for you –

A search on ‘Art’ immediately turns up a cool job –

But you’ll want to be a little more specific, like ‘Artwork’ or ‘Communications’. Bingo!

How about a search for ‘Graphics’? Yes!

Or, to the left on their screens, go to job category ‘Information, Arts and Publications’. Within a few minutes, you’ll find out what jobs are currently open – but, more importantly, what the Federal job titles are for the work you’d like to do.

Parasites (oops, consultants)

There are thousands of private companies selling artwork to the Federal government in the form of report graphics, presentation graphics, infographics, charts, graphs, illustrations, animations, you name it. Most of these companies are in the Washington DC area. In fact, if you want to work in a government-related job, move to DC. Capital of the empire, where the action is... just as San Jose’s Silicon Valley is the epicenter of the high-tech world, and Wall St. for finance.

Try this – go to Indeed.com and enter ‘Graphics consultant’ and ‘Washington, DC’. Or, enter ‘Presentation specialist’ and ‘Washington, DC.’ As Louis Armstrong sang, “What a wonderful world!” So many jobs. And these are secure jobs, as the clients are agencies of the Federal government, and they are funded years ahead. Sweet!

If you have zero experience making graphics or presentations, fear not! Just move to DC and check into a graphics program – also a communications course ot two – at a junior college, and start gently pestering your teacher, and the career counselor, to connect you with a consulting company immediately. They will be glad to help – everybody knows somebody.

Are there downsides to Civil Service work? Well, a few. You get promoted more on time-in-grade rather than on ability. The scope of your job is tightly constrained, particularly as compared to the high-tech world where you are expected to be flexible and to aggressively go after any work that needs doing. And you won’t receive unexpected bonuses or profit-sharing. Salaries, on average, will be somewhat lower than in the private sector. But you’ll have job stability, with Civil Service regulations that protect you from being fired or laid off without extensive review. That’s security!

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