Making the Jump From Public to Private

Twenty years ago, government retirees could walk straight from the public sector into a corporate position. Government experience was sought-after, and businesses were looking to hire it. Today, however, the picture has changed, says J.D. Quilter...

At the same time, it may be the biggest challenge. Entering the private sector, as Quilter frequently emphasizes, entails a jarring culture shift. Moving from an environment where profit is relatively unimportant to one where profit is king is certain to cause conflicts, and too many public-sector individuals looking to make the jump do not prepare for these differences adequately.

“All of the skill and knowhow of public-sector leaders is really tremendous,” Quilter says, “but none of that will matter if they don’t know how to play the game. You have to really study business and learn how to play if you want to be able to apply these skills that you have.”


Marleah Blades is senior editor for the Security Executive Council (, which provides strategy, insight and resources to risk mitigation decision makers. To learn about becoming involved, e-mail