The old salts of public safety can tell you every reason you shouldn’t enter the field. Maybe they’re right. But much of life is a matter of perspective. And one man’s drawback is another man’s bonus, so think it through next time someone who will never quit his job is telling you how terrible his job is.
Here are different perspectives on some of the most common complaints about working in public safety:
Awful people give you perspective
Everyone you deal with in public safety is having a terrible day. Even the best people you meet are having one of the worst days of their lives. They wrecked their car, got beat up, or they’re just plain incarcerated. The constant conflict and suffering diminish your view of humanity pretty quickly.
But those same experiences can give you the gift of perspective. No matter how bad your day is, you’ll always have the opportunity to see someone whose day is worse. You can learn to be thankful you face speed bumps in your life when you see the walls erected in other people’s paths.
You’ll get frequent reminders of why you’re doing the right thing when shortcuts look so profitable. It means you’ll pay your bills. You won’t abuse drugs. You’ll drive safely. As hard as these paths are, you’ll see they’re a whole lot easier than the alternatives.
You’ll never get rich, but some things are more valuable
The dudes in Silicon Valley drive nicer cars and live in bigger houses than the police. They pay extra to eat strange foods prepared in novel ways by private chefs who charge more than their doctors do. Their domestic staff work in shifts, much like nurses.
Life is pretty sweet for the guys who invent the software public servants use every day.
With so much conspicuous consumption, it’s easy to get a case of the green eyes. Especially when you realize the “one percent” wouldn’t stay wealthy long if you weren’t there to keep the “1%ers” at bay.
But in the end, the pay is steady and the benefits aren’t bad. Unlike the convicts, you leave the jail at the end of the night. Unlike the people who wrecked their cars or can’t deal with their neighbors, you’re getting paid to deal with their dysfunction. Serving as society’s referees doesn’t pay the best money in the world, but it sure beats playing the game for free.
You’re always working weekends and holidays, but you wait in fewer lines
Missing family milestones and gatherings is a major buzzkill. For the most part, polite society has agreed that it really, really wants to concentrate its free time into holidays and weekends. But those same people still demand service delivery on weekends and holidays. While they are celebrating, you’re grinding out a living dealing with the excesses they indulge on days off.
It doesn’t make your weekends much better, but it’s easy to run errands on Tuesday afternoons. If you want to go somewhere popular, like a sporting event or Disney World, parking is easier, admission is cheaper, and the lines are shorter on weekdays. Your kids will love playing hookey (occasionally) to enjoy your days off with you.
Just kidding. There’s no way to make paperwork a bright side of anything.
Gripe a little
What do you love about your job that everyone else loves to hate? Leave a comment to let us know.