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Blog - Will a public service role bring you security and certainty - Athena Ali The Get Noticed Coach

There’s a myth out there saying public service jobs are “for life”.

In this video, I debunk the myth that these jobs are for life but also provide my suggestions to create “a job for life” and how you can make your job secure no matter where you are working. 

These are the key 3 things long-serving public servants are able to achieve to elongate their tenure. 

I believe in you! And you can do it just like I did, they did, and my clients are right now!

Watch the video below and hitSubscribe” on my channel so you can receive all video updates! If you don’t like watching or listening to videos, you can also read the transcript below.


Athena Ali – The Get Noticed Coach   





Thank you all for being here.

I’m Athena Ali The Get Noticed

Coach, thank you for joining me live today

in the Public Service

Careers Australia Group.


I’m a career coach and strategist and

a government job application specialist.


Now today I’m talking about “will a public

service role bring you

security and certainty?”

Now most people think that public service

roles are very secure, but are

they are secure and as certain

as you think?


I will discuss if you do want

security and certainty in your career then

public service roles are definitely a

good way to go,

but also talk about what it really takes

to stay in the public sector

for as long as some people have.


No job is guaranteed for life

and there is a perception that a public

service job is a career for life, and it

can be, but it’s certainly not definite.

And it’s not for life anymore.


I guess if that’s really your

expectation that you will be in a

secure public service role not having

to expand yourself and grow,

then maybe the sector isn’t for you

because the public sector really is one,

particularly now, that’s

transforming, that really is

needing people who can grow and who can

change with the times

and their technology.


It is really important that if

you want security and certainty in your

career that you have a growth

mindset wherever you go.


There is this big perception in the public

sector that a job is for life or

that they can’t get rid of you.

And whilst it might not be as easy,

there are still processes you still

have to go through regardless.

Security shouldn’t be the only reason you

apply for a public service role,

and I guess it’s the same as money.


You shouldn’t only apply for a role

Because all you want is money,

because as we all know,

money doesn’t always make you happy

and sometimes thinking that your job

is secure also doesn’t make you happy.


There always needs to be

satisfaction in your actual job,

whether it accords with your values or

making a difference or whatever

that might be for you.


But money or security, or security

of that money shouldn’t be the only reason

that you apply for a public service role.

There certainly should definitely be

something more than that, that draws

you to the public service.

Otherwise, you’ll probably find that your role

won’t be secure and it

won’t be certain either.

Because it just won’t bring you

happiness and it’s either you’ll go, or

just like in any other job,

they might want you to go.


What’s important,

is that you enjoy your job,

that you enjoy serving others,

because really, that’s what

the public service is about.


This the biggest factor in

whether you will be

securing your role or not.


The higher the satisfaction you have

in your role the less likely you’re going to want

to move, but also the less likely they’re

going to want you to move because you’re

going to always be working

really productively.


You’re always going to want to be there.

You’re going to work to your highest

values, and as a result,

it’s a win-win for everybody.


So, if you want security

in your job start there.


There are three key things that I

see in people that tend to have much

longer careers in the public service and these three things

help with job security.


The first thing is, don’t just

do what’s in your job description.


Yes, I know we have job

descriptions to give us

an outline of what we’re meant to be

doing every day in our role.

But those who seek out extra assignments

or find themselves on extra panels or

committees or helping out with new

infrastructure that’s coming to the

Department and really participating,

those people will find themselves

in a position to be able to speak

to higher roles when those roles become



It’s really hard to say

you’ve got experience in something

when you don’t have experience in it and the

only way to get that experience,

whether it’s inside your organisation or

outside of it,

is to volunteer to some capacity.


Now, at some point,

if you want to be a manager,

you’re going to have to show people

that you can manage people and you can’t

do that if our current role

doesn’t allow you to do that.


In order to do that,

there may be some projects where you can

lead people so you have to be able to start providing

examples where you have done this.

If you don’t have those examples,

you won’t be able to meet the criteria

for that next role that you

want to apply for.


If you can demonstrate the experience,

you can apply for the role.


When you do that,

you also become visible.

When you become visible,

you’ll be remembered and when you do apply

for roles, you’ll be remembered as the

person that put their hand up and helped

and did something outside

of their job description.


You show them that you are keen

to move on, that you are keen to do

something else.


You shouldn’t fear not

being paid for doing something extra

because at the end of the day,

there are so many other people

outside the public service who do

volunteer in order to get

experience to land their next role.


So why can’t you do that at work where you

do have the opportunities

where they probably wouldn’t say no to you

because you’re already employed there?

Whereas if you go outside

the organisation,

you may have to apply

for another position to volunteer.

Doing it this way makes it easier because

you already have access to people

who are likely to say yes

if you’re willing to do that extra work.


The second thing is make sure you meet all

your deadlines and be really reliable.


People who are in secure roles or stay a

really long time in their roles are usually

people who always meet their deadlines

and are really, really reliable.


If you can get your projects done

on time or within budget, then you’re more

likely to be the person that’s kept on.

You’ll find that your job will be

a lot more secure for that reason.


Exceeding expectations and always meeting

your KPIs means there’s never any reason

for anyone not to want you around.


When your results are reliable your tenure

is longer as well.

People then trust your capabilities,

your skills, and they know

that you’ll do what you say you do.


This also speaks very much

to the public service value of “trust”.


When you’re reliable,

when you’re someone that meets your KPIs

or exceeds them, people trust

that you will be able to do the role.


The third thing that I find people

who have really secure roles in the public

service, is usually people who have great

stakeholder management and

engagement skills.


People who are able

to build relationships with people.


The person that can get along

with anyone or be in a position

to influence and negotiate the best is

likely to be a keeper.


We don’t want

people who are always

disagreeing with everything.

And it doesn’t mean you have to agree

with everything or you have

to be friends with everybody.

But it is helpful when you know how to

talk to people that you don’t agree with.


How do you get along and how do you

resolve issues with people when

you don’t agree on certain points?

And how do you go about

communicating with them?


Those things contribute to,

how long you will stay anywhere.


These skills,

if you possess them,

being able to negotiate or manage people

and talk to people and engage people,

if you’re the type of person that’s really

good at that,

you’ll be invaluable in a public service

role because you have to talk to people

all day, whether it’s people in your

Department, whether it’s Ministers,

whether it’s Councillors, whether it’s,

people outside the organisation,

community consultations or project

consultants and all those people.


The more diverse groups of people you can

engage and communicate with and be able

to resolve issues with,

the more likely you’re going to hang

around in the public service

because it really is

a public role.


Even if your role is internal,

you still have a lot of people

you need to speak with.


So today my thoughts around,

“how secure is your public service career?”

is that no career is secure; ever.


But if you want to make your

tenure longer than shorter,

then those key three things will help

you stay in the public service longer.


Having a growth mindset really is

the key to being secure in any role.


That’s the end of my live today

on whether a public service

career is secure or not.


Now, if you’d like my 6 proven steps

on how to get unstuck and land a public

service career, you can download that below.


If you’d like to book a chat with me,

You can do that here.


Thank you for listening in today,

and I hope you’ve enjoyed the broadcast.

Thanks, everyone.

Have a great day.



Athena Ali The Get Noticed Coach

Hi, I’m Athena Ali the Founder of The Get Noticed Coach.

I help mid-career professionals and leaders get noticed, get hired, and get ahead in a public service career they love, increase their income, get flexibility, paid professional development and where they can make a difference to the community.