I asked almost the identical question last year. Please check out this thread. It may be helpful to you: http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...job-35187.html
To update the story, I quit my secure municipal government job and joined a private company. The pay was only slightly better, but my new job gave me a lot more opportunities to travel and eat fancy company-paid meals. On the other hand, since I joined the public sector at the tender age of 21, to be purely profit-driven is an uncomfortable feeling for me, which I did not realize before. Yes, you can say I've been thoroughly brainwashed by the lefties.
Also, it turned out my new job is not as secure as it appeared, due to the economic downturn. Although there is no news for lay-offs, we have been losing money as a company and I don't know how long our company/branch can last. Also, there is a lot more dysfunction in the private sector than I thought.
Do I regret leaving my muni job? Not really. By the time I left, the golden handcuffs were so bad that I felt suffocated. The new job gave me the room to grow and learn new things.
I do have to say that I miss my public sector coworkers. Since there was no competition, we were really like family to each other. My current coworkers, though nice, are somewhat competitors as well, at least for bonuses, etc.
Another freedom that the new job offered is to know that I am able to be mobile. When I was working for the city government, there was a sense that the longer you stayed, the less employable you are elsewhere. I certainly don't have that feeling now.
Ironically, I am now applying to join the federal government. Because of my background, security clearance will take years, so I am in no rush. The reason I decided to return to the government is 1. I actually like the idea of working for the public good, 2. The posts are mostly overseas, which I think would not get too boring, and 3. I can retire after 20 years of service. I am 31. If I can get in by the time I'm 34, I can retire by 54.
After turning 30, my biggest revelation is that life is really too short. I would rather do something I enjoy than sticking to a job I'm indifferent about for job security. That's just wasting my life away. (Of course, if you are within 5 years of FIRE, it may be worthy of an exception)