If you’re someone who lives in India then you’d know at least one person who’s aspiring to be a civil servant at an age when figuring out life should have been a priority. 

Fair enough, most of our heads are turned only towards the luxuries of an IAS officer whose life apparently brims with power. So, the self-willed (or perhaps forced) inclination makes sense.

However, when you take off your rose-tinted glasses, you’ll discover a darker side to the same profession that you’ve always thought was supreme.

This 24-year-old Reddit user sought public opinion while he was dubious about signing up for civil services, despite having a handsome package.

Reddit points out corruption, low salary, lack of mental peace, and many other banes of being a civil servant, prompting us to reflect on all the episodes where we heard ‘elders’ discussing the perks of being an IAS officer.

1. “As someone who happens to be very well acquainted with the civil services, don’t make the mistake of joining any of the services. Most of them are for mediocre people who work their arses off for the exams and then get complacent with the inertia of the system and end up doing mundane tasks with little to no job satisfaction. Salaries are low, and chances of getting caught for corruption are very high in the modern age, just google it. Mental peace is a myth, you have pressure from your superiors, incompetent subordinates, and politicians. Don’t make the mistake of opting for a government job.”


2. “I have a friend who has given 5 attempts. That’s 5 years down the drain. You will have to be really passionate about it to pursue it. My advice- Don’t. You earn well and you have one life. Khaao peeyo aish karo, mitron.”

The Economic Times

3. “All I wanted back then was to become an IAS officer. When I told this to someone important to me, he just nodded, gave me an empty stare, and told me that I wouldn’t enjoy it. I think I was 13 or 14 and I didn’t understand it then. Years later, I prepared for IAS, and to be honest, it takes a lifetime of effort. I couldn’t crack mains but I do have friends who joined the service. When I talk to them, I realize that I definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed it. Whatever you have mentioned is all true but the system wouldn’t work if everyone was corrupt. There are a ton of honest individuals who end up joining the service.”

The Economic Times

4. “IAS/IPS not worth it too much political interference. If you have a good education you will find it difficult to follow orders from illiterate politicians. On the other hand, if you are here to sacrifice your integrity and make money go for these posts. You are on 24/7 duty.”


5. “One of my childhood friends joined the civil services. He was one of the nicest guys I knew. Smart, intelligent, happy-go-lucky and always out there to help people. Now, a few years into his service, he works very closely with “he who shall not be named”. Some of the things he has done are atrocious and he tells it out loud in our drinking sessions. Even when drunk, I am shocked at what a monster he has become. But he sadly has no other option. It is either this or end up like B.K. Bansal.”

Business Standard

6. “If you are very curious to know the reasons behind everything and always wish to work as per your inner voice then 100% you should not join Civil Services.”


7. “One should not join the service: If you want to work in metropolitan cities The initial 10–12 years of service is spent working in districts and for someone who has lived or aspires to live in a metro city, it would be a deal breaker.” 

Elite IAS

8. “There are no fixed timings or set routine. You may have to go out at early 4 AM to Ghats during Chhath Festival or return as late as 3 AM during election.”

Deccan Herald

9. “When asked, many youngsters reply that they wish to become an IAS as they love India, and want to transform her. And the moment Independence and Republic day passes by, we return to our regular selves. We start spitting on walls, urinating in the open, plagiarising from others, throwing garbage everywhere except the Bin, violating every traffic law, and such. If you are one of such Indians, please avoid dreaming of Civil Services. If you get through, you’ll make one lousy civil servant.”

The Economic Times

10. “A lot of people want to join civil services with a resolve that they will change the world. But they instead end up licking the boots of corrupt politicians and constantly live in fear.”

The New Indian Express

All things said, it isn’t unreasonable for an ardent aspirant to be head-strong about cracking one of the toughest exams in the country. However, if this goal is fuelled by the long-held societal conditioning about how a laal batti and wardi will ‘secure’ your life then it is toxic and will ultimately kill your purpose.