Three Things You Need to Know About Your Police Career

You’re sitting in your patrol car on night shift watching the traffic go by. It’s raining hard and you’re tired from not getting enough sleep because you were in court the previous afternoon. All you can really think about is getting through the night and going to bed. But you can’t forget your sergeant’s comments at the briefing three hours ago. She talked about some serious crime problems in your area and you’re expected to be alert, ready to respond at a moment’s notice. You wonder how much longer you can keep doing it.

The night is getting long, and you feel like your police career is too.           9470.original-4203                             

This might be one of those times when you ask yourself if policing is what you want to do for the rest of your work life. You wonder if you should quit and get a nine to five office job.

Not likely.

Police work gets in your blood and most of us stick with it. And by doing that, we earn our credentials. All that experience adds up to a career you can build on for a second career, a new work life after policing.

Here are three things to keep in mind while you’re trying to get through that night shift:

  • Your law enforcement career is a valuable asset. You’ve learned a unique set of skills in police work that can be used in many other jobs. For example, problem confrontation, good judgment, decision-making, perseverance, teamwork, and many more. These are all qualities that you can claim as part of your career portfolio now, and use to find a second career. What organization wouldn’t want someone who had developed such important characteristics?
  • You need a second career plan if you want to move on to another career after policing. You might get lucky and just stumble into a great second career, but having a good plan gives you more control.
  • Build on your police career experience. Figure out what you’re good at and get even better at it. Train, learn, and use your experience to develop a career portfolio that will make you an attractive candidate for your next career. Do as much training as you can while you’re still in your police career.

So as you’re watching that traffic go by, thinking night shift will never end, and wondering if there’s any value to your policing career, think about your experience, what you’ve learned, and how you can put all that to work for you. It might make the night a little shorter.

John Eldridge

Author of Second Careers for Street Cops
Amazon Author Page
Twitter: @copsecondcareer
Member Public Safety Writers Association


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