I worked in the Australian Public Service for over 25 years, and when I left recently people asked “Why did I leave?”. For me the real question is “Why had I stayed so long?”.
And as I look back I realise that I stayed because the Service offered a professional work place where I could use and grow my technical and “soft” skills, and it provided challenge and meaning through working with others to deliver government services for Australians through innovative technology. On top of that I had a couple of truly brilliant managers who believed in growing their people and was fortunate to work alongside fantastic teams of committed and skilled technology professionals.
Sure it was not all roses. There were times when it was really hard. I was stretched delivering business technology change in ambitious timelines and building collaboration across silos. Yet these were the situations where I learnt the most: about how to build team cultures where people can offer their best and lead complex change at scale. I learnt alot about myself - what matters most to me and about how important it is to set boundaries to protect my health, to be there for my family and friends, and to foster my own creativity.
These stretch opportunities are gold – seize them if they come your way. They will help you find your voice.