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Posted: 6/17/2011 8:20:53 PM EDT
I make very good money as a federal contracotr in the DC area but I'm at my wits end with govt incompetence and contractor "profiteering."  I hate my work and have growing contempt every passing day.  The only thing I want is to make meaninful contributions to my community, team, and family and these always seem to be distant concerns in my current career.   I went to college with the original intent of getting a job as a cop but life took me down a different path.  While I understand cops don't work with upstanding citizens it's my impression that the job supports what I'm looking for in life and in a career.

Can anyone tell me if it's worth making a career change to LE?  Sure there would be a large pay cut but sometimes you need to make sacrifices...

I'll put my flack jacket on and stand by for any responses...
Link Posted: 6/17/2011 8:51:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/17/2011 8:53:29 PM EDT by Tango7]
Link Posted: 6/17/2011 9:00:21 PM EDT
Only you can decide if its worth it.  There are plenty of bitter, burned out cops too.  On the other hand, I'm 15 years in, and I can't imagine doing anything else.  So long as you find the right department with the right priorities, you will be happy if the job is for you.  It isn't for everyone.
Link Posted: 6/17/2011 9:25:40 PM EDT
Every job has the BS and assholes. One of my partners did fire and insurance investigations for a long time. He wanted more at home time with the family and LE was a way for him to get that. He's a good cop and brought a specialty to the job with him. He was in his 30's when he made the switch. He does get frustrated occasionally with how things are done in government compared to how things would be handled outside of government. LE is still government. How far would you be getting away from what you don't like?
Link Posted: 6/18/2011 4:21:29 AM EDT
I can tell you there are some great departments here. AS tango said no where is perfect but its a great career that offers lots of autonomy, you have the ability in a larger department to specialize once you find what you like. Sure you are going to be unhappy with certain things at times, but its a very satisfying and rewarding career.

PM inbound with some more specific info on certain departments here in VA. Ive worked with alot of them.
Link Posted: 6/18/2011 7:17:10 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Bigeb:
I make very good money as a federal contracotr in the DC area but I'm at my wits end with govt incompetence and contractor "profiteering."  I hate my work and have growing contempt every passing day. The only thing I want is to make meaningful contributions to my community, team, and family and these always seem to be distant concerns in my current career.   I went to college with the original intent of getting a job as a cop but life took me down a different path.  While I understand cops don't work with upstanding citizens it's my impression that the job supports what I'm looking for in life and in a career.

Can anyone tell me if it's worth making a career change to LE?


The part in bold perfectly sums up how I feel about my LE career. Choose agencies wisely.
Link Posted: 6/18/2011 11:47:25 AM EDT
Let me reply to your question by asking this; how much do you know about the terrible things that people do to each other in this world. I don't mean what is seen on TV but what really happens, how certain people, groups in this world treat others like a bag of grain and I'm not talking about a serial killer.

I sometimes wonder why I am at this level of knowledge of the world and what would life be like if I didn't know about it at all. If I was on the outside that most of the world is.

Further, it's not like, "Well, you're intelligence and I don't want to be that but just a city cop" because sooner or later, one does find out. Such as when I was at a conference where one of these bad acts came up, most if not all where aghast, and almost all the people in the room were either commissioned cops or corrections.

Are you prepared to expose yourself to what my mother would call "mind pollution", to be contaminated by it? Because once known, you are not likely to forget about it.
____________________________________________________
("I was on my way to an international conference on terrorism when you called me away for this."––ArchAngel to Hawke, (w,stte), "One Way Express")
Link Posted: 6/18/2011 12:16:02 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Snowleopard:
Let me reply to your question by asking this; how much do you know about the terrible things that people do to each other in this world. I don't mean what is seen on TV but what really happens, how certain people, groups in this world treat others like a bag of grain and I'm not talking about a serial killer.

I sometimes wonder why I am at this level of knowledge of the world and what would life be like if I didn't know about it at all. If I was on the outside that most of the world is.

Further, it's not like, "Well, you're intelligence and I don't want to be that but just a city cop" because sooner or later, one does find out. Such as when I was at a conference where one of these bad acts came up, most if not all where aghast, and almost all the people in the room were either commissioned cops or corrections.

Are you prepared to expose yourself to what my mother would call "mind pollution", to be contaminated by it? Because once known, you are not likely to forget about it.
____________________________________________________
("I was on my way to an international conference on terrorism when you called me away for this."––ArchAngel to Hawke, (w,stte), "One Way Express")


Snow makes an excellent point, being a police officer forever changes the way you look at things and view the world. And depending on where you work you may or may not run into many abhorrant things. You learn to kind of become cold to certain things, but at what personal expense? That is all determined by how you handle it.
Link Posted: 6/18/2011 12:40:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Extorris:
Originally Posted By Bigeb:
I make very good money as a federal contracotr in the DC area but I'm at my wits end with govt incompetence and contractor "profiteering."  I hate my work and have growing contempt every passing day. The only thing I want is to make meaningful contributions to my community, team, and family and these always seem to be distant concerns in my current career.   I went to college with the original intent of getting a job as a cop but life took me down a different path.  While I understand cops don't work with upstanding citizens it's my impression that the job supports what I'm looking for in life and in a career.

Can anyone tell me if it's worth making a career change to LE?


The part in bold perfectly sums up how I feel about my LE career. Choose agencies wisely.


Very much so.  The wrong agency will end your career fast if you don't leave it.  If you feel its the right thing to do and you can afford the pay cut then go for it.
Link Posted: 6/18/2011 6:36:26 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/19/2011 4:29:29 AM EDT
One other thing in regards to what I said about knowing more than one did before; it may be of the nature or situation where one can't talk about it.

Such as if the case has years before it makes it to court. It was reported that the first responders to the Yogurt Shop Murders in Austin could not talk to anyone about what they had seen for years because it was an open case. In my own section, a research subject might have disturbing elements to it but I am usually quite limited to who I can talk about that with. When I was doing rape crisis, I had pages of case notes that were of sensitive nature.

One is entering a world that is really not like the outside world at all.
_____________________________________________________
("Thank you for seeing me, Sir, on short notice."––Sheriff Bert to Father Juniper, (w,stte), "SOAP")
Link Posted: 6/19/2011 6:12:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Bigeb:
I make very good money as a federal contracotr in the DC area but I'm at my wits end with govt incompetence and contractor "profiteering."  I hate my work and have growing contempt every passing day.  The only thing I want is to make meaninful contributions to my community, team, and family and these always seem to be distant concerns in my current career.   I went to college with the original intent of getting a job as a cop but life took me down a different path.  While I understand cops don't work with upstanding citizens it's my impression that the job supports what I'm looking for in life and in a career.

Can anyone tell me if it's worth making a career change to LE?  Sure there would be a large pay cut but sometimes you need to make sacrifices...

I'll put my flack jacket on and stand by for any responses...


While I can't say much for LE work (former MP and state corrections here), I can definitely identify with you on the frustrations with .gov contracting, although I'm not quite at my wits end yet. You have a college degree, why not make the change? I feel you have nothing to lose here (maybe pay, but sometimes that becomes a non-issue). Try it out, experience what the field has to offer. The worst that can happen is you end up hating LEO work more than you do contracting, and move on. There will always be contracts, there will always be LE jobs. Question is, will you feel you've made a real difference when you're through making big bucks jumping gigs all the time?

Link Posted: 6/19/2011 9:10:03 AM EDT
I was in a similar situation long time ago. I was working in the food industry and I didn't exactly hated the job, but I wasn't really happy. I ended up quitting my job and I joined the Army. That was one of the best decisions I ever made. My income got cut in half when I joined the Army, but I never had so much fun, and the friends that I still have from my time there, well I'll take a bullet for any of them, any day of the week!!!

When I got out of the Army I was trying to find a profession that would bring the same level of satisfaction and brotherhood that I experienced during my time in the Army. I just graduated from the police academy this past Friday. The PD that is sponsoring me here in Texas is a great place to work. The officers are extremely close to each other and very friendly.

In short I would say go for it! If you think job satisfaction is more important for you than money. Then, you're not going to regret it.
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 5:43:28 AM EDT
Outstanding responses from everyone!  I completely understand  that every profession has the required "bitching" factor and that LE is not some magical job.  What do guys have to say about impacts on family life and pay?  I'm a huge family guy and my kids are my world.  The PD I'm looking at as standard shifts which applies some "normalcy" and I'd certainly help out on other shifts as needed.  Does being an LEO keep you away from or interfere with your family?  

Per one of the earlier response, I reaally do miss the comraderie that I had in my army days.  Since I left the army back in the mid 90's society seems to be self-centered and behave like cattle...

Regarding pay, I would have to take a big pay cut but I understand that money can be made through overtime and other opportunities.  Assuming my starting pay is ~$50K what is realistically possible in earing more?  I'm not whining about $$$ so much as being able to pay my bills, save for kid's college, etc.  

These factors quite frankly are what are keeping me from making the leap to LE.  

Thanks for all your candid responses!
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 6:09:43 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Bigeb:
Outstanding responses from everyone!  I completely understand  that every profession has the required "bitching" factor and that LE is not some magical job.  What do guys have to say about impacts on family life and pay?  I'm a huge family guy and my kids are my world. The PD I'm looking at as standard shifts which applies some "normalcy" and I'd certainly help out on other shifts as needed.  Does being an LEO keep you away from or interfere with your family?

The divorce rate of my co-workers would indicate that it does.

Link Posted: 6/20/2011 6:16:32 AM EDT
If youre in the federal system, stay federal.  Tons of LE jobs listed on USAjobs.com, search under occupation categories "Inspection, Investigation, Enforcement, and Compliance" and "Safety, Health, Physical and Resource Protection".
Link Posted: 6/20/2011 7:13:43 AM EDT
I would suggest that you go on a ride-a-long, and if you can, ask the officer what his/her opinion is of the agency's report writing manual and policy and procedures manual.  You may also want to ask about specific policies that the officer considers unpopular.  Some common areas are the agency's pursuit policy and dispatch policy.  May want to ask about civilian review boards, too.

Being a cop is a life changing experiance.  You tend to be "switched on" all the time,  tend to think all people are evil, (Good people will do bad things, Bad people will do evil things) and this will stay with you for the rest of your life.   Family life?  Not for a few years, maybe not for a long time. Your wife may tell you that she can't bear to listen to your stories, and for you not to bring up work at home. Problem is, you need to vent to someone to save your sanity at times. Too many guys and girls crawl into the bottle, or find others that WILL listen.  One unlucky turn of events can change your career forever.  You can be involved in a good shoot, and still have to ride a desk for years through no fault of your own.

Having said all that, being a cop is the best job in the world. I've moved on to the Feds, but not a day goes by where I think about dumping this gig, and going back to being a city cop.  

Link Posted: 6/20/2011 10:33:55 AM EDT
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