Any Plan Is Better Than No Plan

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Second Careers for Street Cops

            Ok, not quite. Obviously a bad plan will take you down the wrong path. But the point is, get a plan in place for your second career while you’re still at your police career. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated. Just start looking ahead and asking yourself some questions about what you want to do when your policing career ends. Write down your ideas.

What kind of work would you want to do when you leave policing? Maybe you’re going to answer: “No work, I’m retiring.”  That’s one way to go if you’re able to call it quits and not work at all. However, I’m reading a lot of material these days about second careers and how many people want to carry on working well into their old age.

Look, if you’re 40 and carrying a huge burden of workload and stress you might think this is all crazy. From where you see things now maybe the end can’t come soon enough. No amount of advice from a retired cop like me is going to convince you otherwise. But we all change somewhat as we get older and, for a lot of us, the idea of carrying on in some kind of work is very appealing. That’s something to think about.

The trick is to make it something you really enjoy. In other words, a second career without that huge workload and stress. Lots of us want to work part-time as we get older.

Not you either? Maybe you’re an adrenaline junkie and can’t wait to dive into a big, fast-paced second career. Lots of us are. I took on a very challenging and stimulating second career. It was a great experience. I learned a lot about myself and the investigations work we were doing. If that’s in your future, plan accordingly. Get ready. Make a plan to give yourself options.

Here are some other questions to think about: “When would I like to move to a second career?” It helps to pick a date. You can stash the date away in your back pocket and not tell anyone about it. But with that date in mind, you can start developing an exit strategy, all part of planning ahead and taking care of yourself.

Then there’s the money. We all have our own set of financial circumstances and I don’t offer financial advice. That’s for you to figure out, perhaps with the help of a professional. At some point you’ll need to arrive at an answer to the question: “How much do I want to be paid?” That answer will help point you to your choice of a second career.

Make a plan. Write it down. Think ahead. There are lots more questions to ask. We’ll get to them as we go along. This is just the beginning.

Where can you find second career information to help you with your plan? In my next blog I’ll let you know about some good sources.

John Eldridge
Author of Second Careers for Street Cops
Website: http://secondcareersforstreetcops.com/
Twitter: @copsecondcareer

The Value of A Police Career

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 You’re a police officer and you’re thinking ahead to a career after policing.  I went through the same experience and wondered what a new employer would think about my police career. Did anyone care that I had been working in law enforcement for all those years? What value would the work world outside law enforcement put on my police skills?

And then I realized, they aren’t just police skills. They’re life skills and people skills and work skills. They’re useful in different settings.

I wrote about this in my book but it’s worth repeating here: there are few careers that can match policing for the kind of dynamic experiences future employers value.  Before you head out on your job search, it’s important to value what you’ve learned in policing. Believe in that value, and believe in yourself at the same time.

As part of my research for writing Second Careers for Street Cops, I talked to a lot of former police officers who had gone on to second careers. Though their second career paths were all quite different, they had one thing in common: they all came to realize the value of what they had learned during their police careers – then they built on that knowledge to develop a second career.

After 26 years as a police officer, I moved on to a second career in the Investigations Division of WorkSafeBC. That’s the Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia. I still remember that first day when I showed up for work in my new job. I settled my nervous stomach and calmed my nerves by drawing on years of experience in policing and telling myself: “I can do this.” It was a steep learning curve in a new organization, and it wasn’t like the police department. It didn’t function like a police organization, there wasn’t a lot of chatter over coffee about catching crooks, and I found out not everybody there liked cops. I had to adapt to a new work environment.

I persevered. It helped to look back on all the experiences I had had in police work, good and bad. They added up to 26 years of tremendous value in developing the skills I was able to apply to my new position. It worked out for me. I realized that my new employer valued my skills and experience. I stayed for 11 years.

You can follow a similar path. Believe that a career in police work, with all its up and downs, has value. It can lead to some wonderful career opportunities later in your work life. Stop for a moment right now and think about a couple of life’s lessons you’ve  learned in your law enforcement career. Pretty easy to do isn’t it. There are plenty more where those came from.

I emphasize this point because it’s an important part of your second career foundation.  If you believe in the value of your police career, you will see the value in your personal skills and experience, and build on them for your second career.

John Eldridge
Author of Second Careers for Street Cops
Website: http://secondcareersforstreetcops.com/
Twitter: @copsecondcareer

 

Welcome

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Hi there. I’m glad you dropped by to take a look. This is a place for police officers and retired police officers to get some ideas and suggestions about second careers. I’m going to pass on what I’ve learned after many years of work life, first in policing and then in a second career. It’s my way of extending a helping hand to today’s street cops, who need so much support.

I retired from policing after a long and varied career, most of it enjoyable. The good part was fun. But it wasn’t all great and I probably learned the most from the bad parts. There were lots of twists and turns in my career path along the way.

First I served twenty-six years in the Vancouver Police Department. Well, if you’re in the middle of your police career, you know about the ups and downs that happen in a law enforcement organization. Office politics, missed promotions, competition for assignments, great investigations, disappointing investigations, night shift in a patrol car, good people to work with, and not. We had all that in Vancouver, just like everywhere else. After twenty-six years of it, I had learned a lot … about police careers and life.

I survived policing and went on to a second career for eleven years in the Investigations Division at WorkSafeBC. That’s the Workers’ Compensation Board. My team investigated fatal accidents in the workplace. I built on my experience as a police officer to learn about my second career.

The transition from policing to a second career didn’t just happen. It took planning and preparation. What’s your plan for a second career? Have you got something you’d like to do after policing? Ok, golf and cruises, but that’s not what I’m thinking of here. What about building on everything you’ve learned in your police career to work at something you really want to do?

Doesn’t that sound appealing? It’s all possible. Like everything else, you just have to work at making it happen. That’s what this blog is all about. I’ll give you some ideas and suggestions to get ready for a second career. Watch for my posts twice a month.

John Eldridge
Author of Second Careers for Street Cops
Website: http://secondcareersforstreetcops.com/
Twitter: @copsecondcareer