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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It was not that long ago, when parents' most sagacious advice to their offspring was to play it safe and get a city job, a federal job, or a state job.

They espoused the great benefits that came along with government employment: Steady, almost guaranteed work, union benefits, early retirement and health benefits. "If you get in early, you'll be retired by 40," was a common argument.

Of course, turning 40 can sound pretty much like the end of the line to an 18-year old. I mean who cares about retirement at 40, aren't you pretty much too old to do anything of any relevance at that age?

Teens raised in the last few decades tended to model their futures after their cultural icons. Movies such as Wall Street, Glengarry Glen Ross, and even Working Girl had heroes and heroines who stormed into the corporate offices across America and took charge. In the ninety minutes it took for their stories to be told, they came, they saw, and they conquered the boardrooms.

So, most of us chose the corporate world over the government job route. We didn't get the movie glamour, of course, but we at least got a taste of trying to climb the corporate ladder.

Today, when corporations all over America are reducing the size of their workforces daily, some say out of necessity, some say to keep profit margins up in order to keep their stock prices from declining, these private sector jobs are becoming more difficult to come by.

Many of those who snickered at the idea of a federal job are now rethinking that hasty decision. Unfortunately, that ship may have already sailed.

Federal agencies are not far behind corporate America in the freezing of new hires. Many agencies are not only under a hiring freeze, but have also seen severe cutbacks in their current workforce. The trend shows no sign of slowing either. Daily there are reports of firehouses closing, police forces being reduced, and many municipal government offices are planning to cut their workforces, some by as much as 25 percent.

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