Finding Fit

Your Place, Role, and Purpose in Public Service

1 days

This course is designed for analysts, officers, and managers of all levels who are/will be directly involved in the development and implementation of public policy, but whose training has lacked a firm grounding in the politics of public administration. It is also designed for public servants at all levels who are not directly engaged in the policymaking process but seek career development by exploring decision-making and career-pathing in government.


Effective public servants bring a strong sense of self to their work. They know their place in the organization -- where they fit in the hierarchy and how they figure into complex decision-making processes. They know their role in the organization’s successes and shortcomings, the boundaries of their influence, and their opportunities to contribute meaningfully. More than this, our best public servants know their purpose in Canadian democracy, have a strong sense of political acumen, and can distinguish between what they accomplish at work and their broader sense of self-fulfilment. Even the most effective of us struggle on these points from time to time. This workshop guides participants through challenges related to the ever-changing org chart, the convoluted and opaque nature of policymaking, the politicization of public policy, and the demoralizing aspects of churn and changes in government direction.

Instruction Methodology: 

This is an intensive, one-day workshop involving a series of expert commentaries and active learning activities designed to give participants hands-on experience and practical tips for finding their fit in government.


This workshop is based on the top-selling Public Servant’s Guide to Government in Canada, and builds on the following themes:

  • Politics, Power, and Policymaking in Canada
  • The Public Sector Bargain
  • The Politics of Public Policy
  • The Politics of Public Administration
  • Navigating Life in Government
  • Building Roles and Competencies in Government
  • Achieving Your Career Goals
Skills Taught: 

As a participant in this workshop, you will:

  • Gain a better understanding of the real world of public sector decision-making, including its political dimensions
  • Establish a firm sense of self in relation to others in the policy process, including the distinct roles of elected and non-elected officials
  • Distinguish and find alignment between personal and professional fulfilment
  • Develop a more systematic approach to career-pathing in the public sector

Dr. Jared Wesley is a pracademic – a practicing political scientist and former public servant – whose career path to the University of Alberta Department of Political Science has included senior management positions in the Alberta Public Service (APS). While in Alberta’s Executive Council, he gained valuable experience in the development of public policy and intergovernmental strategy. Over the course of his career, he has worked with dozens of federal and provincial departments, agencies, and boards, as well as with commissions in both policy and professional development capacities. He also served as Director of Learning and Development in the Alberta Public Service Commission, establishing policies and curriculum to train public servants at all levels of the APS. Currently, he is Founding Director of the Master of Arts Program in Policy Studies at the University of Alberta – Canada’s newest and most innovative public policy school. He studies and teaches the politics of bureaucracy and the bureaucracy of politics, and is co-author of two leading books: The Public Servant’s Guide to Government in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2018) and Inside Canadian Politics (Oxford University Press, 2016 and 2019). He is a two-time recipient of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) National Award of Merit.