Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Look out public health, here I come!

It's late breaking news (as of last Friday), but I had such a busy weekend away from home, that I didn't get a chance to post some exciting information. I have accepted a job offer from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and I start on June 4th.

It's a communication's position, I will still be doing strategic advising, but the subject matter will be quite different... no more income tax, I'm onto health promotion and chronic diseases, and all the communications that revolve around these topics: healthy eating, healthy living, healthy pregnancy, physical activity, breast cancer, diabetes, asthma, stroke, - and the list goes on.

Since my return from French training in March, I have been wanting to make some changes on the career front. I would have been willing to do that within CRA, but the right opportunity just wasn't available at the right time, so when this offer from PHAC fell into my lap, it was something that immediately excited me, because of the subject matter. I mean really... income tax can't hold a candle to health and the human body.

Its hard to believe that I have been with CRA since 2002. I like to think of my career and my life in 5 year segments. I always said when I started in revenue, I would try it for 5 years, and then reassess my position after that. Now... without actually setting out to make a career assessment, this job opportunity presented itself, and I really couldn't say no - its a move I have to make in my career, and one that will allow me to grow as a communications advisor, and a public servant.

I have been on a slow learning curve at CRA. I was a student when I started in 2002, and I was able to learn the ropes in a rather leisurely fashion, compared to what is going to be expected of me when I walk through the doors of PHAC. This is the part that scares me, I am going to be thrown into the job and expected to perform on the spot (which is something I can do), but not necessarily something that I want to do, without knowing the files inside and out, like I do with tax. It's definitely going to require me to step outside of my comfort zone, and get my hands dirty if I want to show my new management that I am just as capable in health communications as I am in income tax.

Friday, I had to let my management in on the changes I am going to make, and it wasn't easy. It was emotional and bitter sweet. CRA is the only home I have ever known, so its going to be hard to say goodbye, without feeling like I am leaving behind some family. I have the same feeling now, as I did, when I left home to go to University. I wanted to go away, but I was scared to leave behind my small town roots. This career move is much in the same, its terrifying to leave the only 'real' job I have ever had, and venture off into uncharted territory, but if this job is as fun and adventurous as my days at Ottawa U, I will not regret making the move.

I like to think that I am good at what I do, and the confidence I have in myself as a communications advisor, is something that was instilled in me while working at CRA. I have worked for, with, and around some great people in the last five years, and through each experience at CRA, good or bad, I have learned something, which has allowed me to develop my competencies in communications. CRA has equipped me with all the right tools to continue my career in communications, and for that I will always consider CRA my home in government.

The opportunity that awaits me at PHAC is finally something I am excited about, and as you know, my excitement surrounding my job has been non-existent since the inception of my French training -- but I think I can finally put that experience behind me, and move onto greener pastures in Public Health.

8 working days left at CRA, and counting down quickly!

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