Berks County Government Job: Range of Openings

I am going to digress a little from my usual subject, which is crime and public safety, and talk about employment, an issue that touches on several areas of concern.

There has never been a better time to look for a job, at least in my lifetime, and that goes for both the public sector and private industry. There was a time, just before the pandemic actually, where you had to climb a bunch of bodies to have a chance at a high-paying job in county, state, or federal government.

Where else can you get a traditional pension and plenty of paid time off, including some that aren’t recognized as public holidays, like Black Friday?

My, how things have changed. Click on the job opportunities link on the Berks County government website and you will see a range of job postings.

The list includes desk/desk support guards (many in various county government offices), social services social workers, facility managers, juvenile and adult probation officers, 9-1 operator -1, the clerk and the snack coordinator / caterer.

The district attorney’s office is even looking to fill positions that include assistant district attorney and forensic computer scientist.

Now, to be a clerk or an assistant prosecutor, you must have a law degree. But some of those jobs — corrections officer, for example — don’t require any education beyond a high school diploma or general equivalency.

There aren’t many jobs that pay a high school graduate $50,051 a year (the base starting salary for a county corrections officer) with retirement, paid vacation, and health benefits.

The fact that there are not enough of these jobs filled is a headache.

A $50,000-a-year job (maybe that doesn’t include tens of thousands of dollars in potential overtime earnings) is life-changing for someone struggling to raise a family with a household income of $30,000. $ or less.

I’ve looked at some of the requirements and they don’t seem the least bit intimidating considering the pay and benefits that come with the job. However, this requires shift work, including weekends, and therein lies the catch.

People may be applying and getting hired for these jobs, but not at the rate that people are leaving for other jobs, retiring, or just quitting.

This is where the Great Resignation comes in.

There isn’t enough space here to talk about why people quit, but it’s safe to say that many people quit their jobs because of working conditions, including shift work which prevents them from going to their children’s games in the evening or on weekends.

Over the summer, at a social gathering, I spoke to a former colleague with ties to the county. Beth (not her real name) and I shook our heads over the number of positions the county was trying to fill at its recent job fair.

I mentioned that long before the pandemic, I had read about how summer jobs for high school and college students were not being filled. Among the reasons given, the new generation of students prefers to keep their weekends open to go to the beach or simply to spend time with friends.

Beth mentioned that she had worked since she was 13 at her parents’ store. They didn’t want to give him money to buy things, and neither did mine; we had to earn our pocket money.

Beth said she was still successful playing softball and other sports during her middle school and high school years. It helped that his parents were his employer and built his schedule around his games and workouts, but they also did that for other employees.

Equally important, summer, after-school and weekend work was a way for her to socialize with people her own age and older. People from different backgrounds, something I could relate to working in a restaurant for several years in college.

Who knows, maybe avoiding work for enjoyable activities or to gain a competitive advantage in sports or other interests is linked to pervasive anxiety and depression among high school and college students. ‘today.

A job can be an antidote to isolation and loneliness, even self-indulgence.

And you get paid for it.

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