What to do with an ex-civil servant

Did I walk the plank or was I pushed off it? What matters is that I was on that plank along with a lot of other people. Whether we jump or are pushed is neither here nor there – a lot of us are going to end up in the water.

I took the view that there are more than enough people with commitments such as children, families and mortgages who needed the stability of a permanent job than I did. I also took the view that I did not have confidence in some of the key policies that ultimately I was likely to have ended up working on later on. With the carrot of a redundancy package being dangled in front of me at the same time, I felt that the best option for me was to take the package and go.

I’ve chosen to take time out of the jobs market for now – mainly to concentrate on improving health and fitness, and to spend some time trying out a number of new projects and getting back into the swing of some older activities – such as music.  I’m lucky to have a supportive family to allow me to do this – others are not so lucky.

My bookshelf is full of lots of things that I want to have read (but don’t necessarily want to read – short attention span) and I’ve been on a hunt looking at a number of things far away from the world of politics and public administration. Being my own boss on these things means far more freedom to try stuff out (and far more freedom to mess things up and around) – far more than being in the civil service (or large organisations in general) would allow.

I still plan on remaining engaged in what happens in the world of Whitehall – paradoxically, leaving Whitehall means more time spent engaging with it. But it will be on my own terms – not on someone else’s.


9 thoughts on “What to do with an ex-civil servant

  1. Good for you!

    There are far more important things for us to do with our life than simply, as too many are trained, to work work work.

    Each of us only get one shot at living (as so many cliches remind us) so one more person making the best of the life they have is one more person making the world a far more pleasant place for us all.

  2. All best wishes for your new project and for whatever you’re going to be doing now. I will be following your blog and Puffles with interest.

  3. Congratulations! I’ve been in the same boat for over 30 years. Leaving is a scary thought (and hasn’t yet been offered) but the charm of being able to speak out…….. I worked under the Tories first time round and it wasn’t pleasant.
    I wish you the very best of luck!

  4. Welcome to the world of the ex-Civil Servant. There is life after Whitehall – indeed, abundant life, as I have found over the last few months. One of the reasons why I left – apart from the redundancy offer coming at just the right time in life – is that the first few months of coalition government saw not only policies that I found morally and intellectually indefensible, but the things I valued most about Whitehall were being destroyed – evidence-based policy-making and the principles of objectivity, for a start. For most of my Civil Service career I had a dim sense that in my little, incremental way I was helping to make society better – after last May I no longer believed that.

    Good luck with your various enterprises. I miss some wonderful colleagues, but not much else about Whitehall. It’s a big, free world out there.

  5. Good for you. I did something similar last year, and moved away from the corporate world. I was cautious in that I had just about enough money to survive even if I never earned anything more. As it is I have a professional qualification so am able to do occasional work and get something in.

    What is amazing is where the time goes – I do not understand how I ever held down a full time job. But the enormous backlog of unread books is slowly diminishing (may be down to nothing by the end of this year), and I have managed to pursue other interests.

    Best thing though is knowing that everyone would do it if only finances would allow it.

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