Being in government is the hardest (paid) job most of us will ever have.

I know this, very well, because I’ve been in and out of government for most of my career.

Hell, I was raised in a government family. Been living and breathing the public sector since before I even understood what it meant.

I definitely started working in the public sector before I understood what it meant!

But now, with the benefit of 30-odd years of perspective since my first tentative steps into a dusty old Housing Department office in outer Brisbane in the 1990s, I can say with confidence that I’d sum up my relationship with government as “I love you. I hate you. I can’t quit.”

If that feels familiar, then this blog is probably for you. But let’s be sure…

If you are who I think you are, then you’re damn proud of your work.

You know, deep in your bones, that it matters. You were drawn inexorably towards this path, despite your rational brain occasionally (often?) telling you there are far easier ways to earn a crust.

You can see (so clearly!) that things can and should be better than they are. You’re very happy to put in the work to bring that future vision into reality, even if it’s more of a future-shaped blob than specific goals. You know that the worth is in the work, and you know that it’s worthy to make the attempt.

But in those quiet moments, in your own long dark teatimes of the soul, you wonder. That quiet voice of, what is it… Sanity? Reason? Doubt? It whispers “why bother? It won’t make a difference anyway…”

That little bastard.

Because some days, that voice isn’t a whisper, it’s a shout. And walking out of that blighted meeting last week, with that total %@$(#! of an executive who just doesn’t get it at ALL, that shout became a roar! Ugh.

You stormed off (do you storm? Perhaps you walked away stoically), quietly brooding to yourself. Maybe you jumped onto your jurisdiction’s jobs board. Hell, maybe you jumped onto Seek! “Bugger government; I’ll go private. If I’m going to go through all this pain, why not at least get paid well.”

…but then you closed those tabs. You won’t leave government. You can’t. Because… well, because this MATTERS. Your work, gigantic pain in the arse though it is, it matters, a lot, and you don’t want to walk away.

Well, you don’t have to.

My job, if you’ll let me, is to make it so that you don’t have to choose between your job and your sanity.

Because my job – chosen with a FULL HEART and CLEAR EYES– is to make it make sense.

  • Make government make sense.
  • Make the complexity make sense.
  • Make the frustrations make sense.

Government was created to provide for the common good

The things that individuals couldn’t arrange for themselves. Things like who gets to chop down how many trees, or how shall we fund and build a defensive wall around our village, or who can arbitrate between arguing families, lest chaos ensue?

Over millenia, government’s scope has increased, gotten more formal and more robust. Laws were written, usually in the blood of past fuck-ups. Past moments when the common good was trampled beneath the feet of complacency, vested interests or sheer incompetence.

Government isn’t perfect, because humans aren’t perfect. If humans were perfect, we wouldn’t need government. But here we are, imperfect, and inconsistent, yet all muddling together to try to create a more perfect world.

And my, don’t we need that right now! The world is facing its biggest challenges. Ever.

Big call, I know. After all, as the child of a Boomer, I’ve been cautioned more than once about the sheer terror of growing up with the threat of nuclear annihilation.

There’s no value in an intergenerational pissing contest over whose challenges were worse. But if such a contest were to take place, I’d be betting that this chapter of humanity’s history would win first prize for “Crikey, you lot like living dangerously, don’t you…”

So, now, more than ever, we need a strong bureaucracy wrapped around society like a sensible, stabilising safety blanket.

 

What a bugger that we’ve picked big holes in that blanket.

 

Because, real talk, we’ve really tugged hard at those threads haven’t we?

I’m not trying to be political in what I say next; only factual.

We’ve had 40-odd years of fairly systematic demolition of both the bureaucracy and many other elements of the foundational social contract that’s stabilised Western society. Promises have been made, to whole generations, then broken. That costs.

While much of this hole-picking is an unforeseen byproduct of other social shifts, it’s important that we, as public servants, step back and ask the hard questions about whether the bureaucratic structures we have now are actually fit for purpose.

And to the extent they’re not… well, what are we going to do about it?!

This, then, is the challenge. And the clock is ticking.

So, if you’re still reading, it’s my bet that you feel all of the above, keenly.

I bet you’d appreciate a bit of light being shone on your path.  Hell, you’d probably settle for just being seen.

Well – I see you.

And I have a flashlight.

It’s not perfect, because I’m not perfect.

But we’re walking the same path, and I’m happy to share my light.

So, with a full heart and clear eyes, I would like to offer you my latest white paper. It’s not about teaching you something new but about reframing the fundamentals so you can deploy them effectively.

Its a simple pathway that I developed when it was me in the hotseat. I call it the Pathway to Impact.

It offers ways to help you calibrate your aim, and a pathway to finding the happy medium so that you can be effective (and get to sleep at night).

If you want to begin to bridge the gap between what you thought you needed to achieve success in public service, and what it really takes download your free copy today.

 

– Georgie

FREE WHITE PAPER

As a reformed executive, I’ve stared the harsh realities of public sector life in the eye. And that’s why I put together “Full Hearts, Clear Eyes, Can’t Lose”. If you want to begin to bridge the gap between what you thought you needed to achieve success in public service, and what it really takes download your free copy today .