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Career Enders and Random Thoughts (tl;dr advance warning)

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  • Career Enders and Random Thoughts (tl;dr advance warning)

    So I'm basically entering the home stretch of my career. In 2019, I'll be able to retire, if I so choose (I plan on taking things day by day, so who knows when I'll actually become a "used to be.") Long career in various positions in various locations. Many high points and a few low ones too... I'm probably not alone in that regard.

    A couple things happened recently that led to some reflection....

    One, last weekend I cleaned out boxes of personnel records going back to when George H.W. Bush was in office. Reams of documents that once seemed important- old resumes and applications, group photos of people I've not seen in decades, training records, commendations and news articles, job offers and raises, etc. Old appraisals from good bosses and bad ones. I'm no hoarder but for whatever reason, I kept almost every piece of paper with my name on it. I retained anything that seemed germane to the future and the rest went into a burn pile. Going through everything brought back lots of memories- good times and bad, a few close calls where the margin was very narrow, genuine friendships that remain, and thankfully only limited regrets. It was like watching an episode of that old TV show "This is Your Life" but I was both the guest and audience.

    Second, I recently learned about the career conclusions of two professional associations. I had been good friends with one for 15 years and the other was someone I knew from infrequent encounters. Both recently lost their jobs- the first had an incident involving alcohol and his work vehicle and the second did not report malfeasance of others (I am intentionally not going to describe further details for both situations because I don't know the specifics). One was able to retire abruptly and the other went through a two-year termination process and is now a forty-something with a family but no job, no retirement, no health care and no more appeals. I suspect I won't have much contact with either in the future- not because I intend to shun, but because that's how these situations usually end (the reality about work friendships is they typically taper off when work is no longer a mutual factor for all involved.)

    As I watched the burning mound of paper become frail thin embers that floated away from the bonfire and into the dry grass, I thought about my two friends, which elicited this train of questions: how common is it for careers to end prematurely and under dubious circumstances? How many careers end for people who were once solid LEOs but things go sideways? (note: both the people referenced above had sound reputations and many accomplishments and I suspect are embarrassed and ashamed about their situations). What are the causes?? And why is that others who should've never been hired in the first place and who cause nothing but needless, endless grief and chaos often sail to retirement? (albeit their retirement party could be held in a phone booth.)

    Going back to my early era of wheel guns and pagers: the total number of people I knew in varying degrees who left not by their choice is somewhere around two dozen. The reasons were varied: misuse of databases for a personal vendetta... theft.... having two wives (meaning they were married but had a side girlfriend and at some point things went sideways with one or both and then accusations were made)…. petty corruption.... a more serious type of corruption... alcohol issues... drug issues... lack of candor in an official inquiry...

    One guy got the boot because he started hanging around an outlaw motorcycle club. I don't think he officially joined, but the mere association was enough.

    One guy was secretly filming his ex in intimate situations (dude was weird).

    And there were a handful of situations where the issues were largely inflated in order to can someone who had gotten crossways with the powers that be. Maybe 'inflated' isn't the right term, but in these situations, people were fired for transgressions lesser than what others have gotten away with. Management was looking to pounce though, and they provided an excuse.

    This isn't a criticism of institutional integrity. It's necessary to have accountability. Unfortunately it isn't always equitable. The cookie does crumble differently for different people...

    This is more a rambling essay about how people in this profession, often good people who were smart, worked hard, and seemed to have it together, lose it all and what lessons can be learned from their situations.


    Carry on and share with the class if you have any insight.








    When you're 20 you care what everyone thinks, when you're 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you're 60 you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.

    -Winston Churchill

  • #2
    Word. Yo....
    Now go home and get your shine box!

    Comment


    • #3
      Lots of folks think I’m “weird”. I’m always covering my “6”.
      Getting shot hurts! Don't under estimate the power of live ammo. A .22LR can kill you! I personally feel that it's best to avoid being shot by any caliber. Your vest may stop the bullet, but you'll still get a nice bruise or other injury to remember the experience.

      Comment


      • Ratatatat
        Ratatatat commented
        Editing a comment
        You know what I mean.

    • #4
      Originally posted by HI629 View Post
      Lots of folks think I’m “weird”. I’m always covering my “6”.
      When I first got on, a really good friend already working the same agency said “NEVER trust ANYONE’. Followed his advice and saves myself grief on numerous occasions.

      Sad that one must first look out for themselves in a vocation where we trust others to watch our backs.
      Getting shot hurts! Don't under estimate the power of live ammo. A .22LR can kill you! I personally feel that it's best to avoid being shot by any caliber. Your vest may stop the bullet, but you'll still get a nice bruise or other injury to remember the experience.

      Comment


      • Ratatatat
        Ratatatat commented
        Editing a comment
        How true. If someone were to ask me, 'who was a bigger threat over the years- bad guys or some of your co-workers?', I'd have to answer, 'Hmmm. Good question.'

    • #5
      The biggest threat to your career is "yourself".

      Comment


      • #6
        We had a couple guys who got canned for domestic violence. Both of them had poor attitudes and chips on their shoulders. Other than that, the few terminations we had were for dishonesty. You could do almost anything short of a felony, and as long as you told the truth about it, youkd at least keep your job. But lie to even the slightest extent and you were out the door.
        Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

        I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

        Comment


        • #7
          Originally posted by ateamer View Post
          You could do almost anything short of a felony, and as long as you told the truth about it, youkd at least keep your job.

          I seen both extremes- careers survive big effing mistakes and careers end for the smallest of infractions.

          One situation I am familiar with involves a second level supervisor who got pulled over after numerous 911 calls about a swerving driver. He rolls the gold of course and is generally uncooperative, almost to the point of resisting and obstructing. He's slobering drunk and the whole encounter including his arrest is recorded on vest cam. Fast forward six months- he pleads guilty, gets demoted, but still keeps his job.

          Then I've seen other people get forced out- fired or constructively dismissed- for the most mundane, innocuous reasons because they had some dirt on their petty spiteful supervisor and he didn't like it.



          When you're 20 you care what everyone thinks, when you're 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you're 60 you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.

          -Winston Churchill

          Comment


          • #8
            Originally posted by HI629 View Post

            When I first got on, a really good friend already working the same agency said “NEVER trust ANYONE’. Followed his advice and saves myself grief on numerous occasions.

            Sad that one must first look out for themselves in a vocation where we trust others to watch our backs.
            I wish I'd heard that. I bought into the 'blue brotherhood' at 21 years of age at LAPD, and suffered for it. I watched most of my co-workers (and drinking partners) get arrested and fired for committing burglaries on-duty. I knew nothing about it. But, in order to stay out of prison, they revealed EVERY bit of partying both on and off duty we'd been involved in.

            Then I sobered up, in Nov. of 1984 and I have not had a drink since. There has, "coincidentally"(?) been an almost complete lack of trouble in my career since that time.

            I have watched, or become aware, of four one-time partners/trainees who ended up in prison for murder (including a woman, Stephanie Lazurus). I have watched maybe five officers, get snagged for sleeping with underage teens (including a woman). I've seen burglars, a robber, stalkers, rapists, insurance frauds, both high-level and petty thieves all who had worn a uniform and the LAPD badge.

            I got to counsel cops with drinking issues and felt sad when they often decided that drinking alcohol was preferable to recovery and keeping their job.

            I know there used to be a saying among the LA Co. Sheriff's Deputies, shared by one of my sober cop brothers, "I won't go to jail FOR you, but I will go to jail WITH you!" What a world we live in, if that's a common pledge among LE co-workers.
            "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

            Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

            Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

            Comment


            • #9
              fa0c81659b46d56059565df6da1312b88888.jpg
              When you're 20 you care what everyone thinks, when you're 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you're 60 you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.

              -Winston Churchill

              Comment


              • #10
                Originally posted by BNWS View Post
                The biggest threat to your career is "yourself".
                Social media.....'nuff said.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Originally posted by phillyrube View Post

                  Social media.....'nuff said.

                  Here's a social media career ender, two months after it began...


                  Detroit cop suspended after social media post


                  A rookie Detroit police officer has been suspended after allegedly posting a Snapchat photo of himself in uniform on Saturday with the caption "another night to Rangle (sic) up these zoo animals."

                  The officer, Sean Botswick, is on probation. He has only been out of the police academy for two months, said Detroit police Chief James Craig.

                  "I suspended him on the spot as soon as I saw that post," Craig said. "My phone started blowing up about 5:30 (p.m. Saturday). This is absolutely unacceptable."

                  Craig said he has ordered Botswick to appear for a hearing "first thing (Monday) morning. I'm holding the hearing myself."

                  "This is highly disturbing," Craig said. "I've been getting phone calls from black officers, white officers, male and female officers — and they're all disgusted. This isn't reflective of the officers who work in this department."

                  https://www.detroitnews.com/story/ne...ck/1407026002/
                  When you're 20 you care what everyone thinks, when you're 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you're 60 you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.

                  -Winston Churchill

                  Comment

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