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Anyone else, just not "ate up with it"?

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by Agent6-3/8, May 31, 2011.

  1. The "on call" thread got me wondering prompted me to post this thread.

    I love the job. While its tough, the hours long and the pay low its an awesome way to make a living if you're in it for the right reasons. With that said, I never was ate up with it, even as a boot. Perhaps its because I worked crazy and very long hours with my last department. Seems like some guys live for it and they can't wait for their next shift, work all the OT they can, wear cop stuff all the time, even off duty, etc. We all know the kind.

    For whatever reason I never was like that. (and it seems a bit unusual, honestly) I love the work, but I refuse to let it consume me. I highly value my time with my family and loved ones. Family is number one with me. When it comes down to it LE is how I make my living (or at least used to and want to again) its not my life or what I live for. Thats not to say its "just a job". It is definitely a way of life and I feel a strong calling to LE, to step out and do what others can't or won't. I simply don't let it define who I am.

    Anyone else feel the same way?
  2. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    Mar 14, 2005
    I am progressively less "ate up with it" each day. After 6-7 years of it I can actually see myself not working in LE anymore at some point, something I couldn't even consider when I started.

    Might always be in some form of LE, but I am growing tired of patrol and am not interested in being promoted to detectives.

  3. SpoiledBySig

    SpoiledBySig Millennium Member

    May 6, 1999
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    At my last department, for about 20 years, I think I was swearing that I couldn't wait to get my 20 years in and then retire every day.

    When I finally made it and got my 20 year pension, for almost a year of not working, I was thinking to myself, "oh God, what am I going to do now?". I probably drove my family crazy.

    I got back into LE before a year of retirement went by. It's a very different type of policing but it feels I'm still somehow "connected" and I'm sworn and all.

    Still, I do love doing lawn work outside and when I was retired (2004-2005) I had the best looking lawn in the neighborhood. :cool:

    Those feelings that perhaps I should just retire again, come and go every week, or two. The truth is... I totally failed at retirement and I think many here will do lousy at retirement also. :faint:

    You'll probably go through lulls every few years, where you feel like you don't want to do it any longer...take a long vacation when that happens, you'll come back appreciating work more.

    I mean, some people can do their time, retire and they're fine. Nothing wrong with that. It's just that most of the officers that are able to go back to job- do go back to the job.
    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  4. That pretty much sums it up for me.
  5. Snafu

    Snafu Millennium Member

    Aug 11, 1999
    I feel very similar to the original poster. Of course I only have about 2-3 years left til I will likely retire.

    Somehow the last couple years of fatal crashes, homicides, suicides, infant/child deaths have grown very, very tiring to me. I sometimes wish I could "un-see" some things.

    Of course, maybe I'm just getting old. :whistling:
  6. JTipper.45


    Nov 14, 2004
    You know, what is strange is I had this converstion with a friend of mine last night. He has just become a reserve officer and I noticed that he had been coming home in uniform for the last few nights all in a row. Last night he was in uniform and pulled a no-no by trying to be the police while in his POV over a traffic offense. That's when I had to explain a few things to him. I was "ate up with it" when I was a reserve and a part timer back in the early 90s. That was because I didn't "have" to do it, it was fun and an adrenaline rush. It was also a different type of policing back then. Things were more hands on and alot less personal. If you had to "negotiate" with someone either at a bar or during an arrest it wasn't taken personal. It was common to get back to the station, uncuff your arrestee, pour both of you a cup of coffee and sit down and lick your wounds together while doing the paperwork. Nowadays you arrest someone and It is like you have wronged them for life no matter what they have done.

    I realized I was "ate up with it" right after I almost wound up divorced. It took several years to get my marrige back on track and I vowed to never let that happen again. I now also try to keep some of the younger guys coming up from making the same mistake. I have seen too many of my friends divorced over the years because of the job. While I also love my job, I had to come to the realization that the job doesn't love me. If you let it , it will chew your life up and spit it back at you. This is why I came to respect all the guys in this line of work that make it to retirement. They earn it.
  7. CAcop


    Jul 21, 2002
    It's been a long slow transition towards it being "just a job" for the last 6 years. A few things at work have made it that way. A bad chief, a few incidents that forced me to realize this was not the only job in the world for me, the city cutting pay long before the economy tanked, and the wear and tear of the tempo our workload. A big part was getting married.

    I think it is important to have that transition because at some point you are going to have to give it up. That can be voluntary or involuntary. You can't be one of those guys who goes full bore for 30 years and then retires. You wife is going to divorce you within months. I have seen it happen. You can't be a stranger to your family for 20-30 years an then suddenly be home all the time. Before they had no clue what you were like, now all of a sudden they realize you annoy the crap out of them. And this is when you decide to leave, God forbid should you get hurt before you are ready to go.

    Every cop needs to know when it is time to hang it up. And you have to be ready for it when the time comes.
  8. BL33D 4 M3

    BL33D 4 M3 SDMF

    Nov 19, 2005
    Chicago/North Burbs
    I've known a few that have stayed too long at the dance. I find much truth and wisdom in your post. Here is the difficult do you tell someone you care for that its time?
  9. OFCJIM40

    OFCJIM40 Happy Jaeger

    Jan 22, 2001
    Chicago-area, IL.
    I was worried it was just me! After 13 years of this, count me in too. Society can only tear down the Police so far until it affects our morale.
  10. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

    Oct 28, 2005
    Circling the wagons.
    The last year or so has pretty much done that for me. It's incredible what effect morale has on productivity. Were I in a department where people were treated fairly and wanted to be at work every day, things would be different.
  11. Sharky7

    Sharky7 Boomshakalaka

    Feb 21, 2009
    It's pretty natural to be consumed by it all when you first start. I actually worry a bit about the guys who are not too excited in FTO. I would rather have to be pulling someone back then pushing them forward.

    It's hard not to slow down a bit after you get crapped on. Eventually you make your way through it sooner or later and realize your badge and your department aren't just one asshat or dirty boss....can't let one or two people ruin it for you.

    Balance is important though. It's fun to love what you do for your profession. "work to live" not "live to work." Gotta have a life to enjoy outside of LE.

    I never really got to the phase of wearing 5.11 off duty or police paraphernalia crap every where I go. That was just a bit too dorky.
    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  12. wprebeck

    wprebeck Got quacks?

    Oct 20, 2002
    Mm..looks like heaven
    I with you - posted m sentiments in the other thread you mentioned.

    Its not "just a job", but you can't let it destroy evrything else in your life. I've seen way too much of it, and even had to cuss out a good friend who seemed to be heading down that road. Used to hear about his wife, kids, him riding his Goldwing - for a few months, it got so all I heard about was work. I don't know if our conversation had anything to do with it, but shortly after, I started seeing my friend get back to normal.

    We all have to find that balance, because in the end, when you retire - few will remember you, fewer still will care. That's the way of things in this work. Do the absolute best you can while you're here but not at the expense of your family and things you love.

    For me, I put the wife and kids first. Sometimes, things happen, and i miss a bit of time with them. More often, I don't, as that time is rare and precious to me. My family will be here for me long after I forget the names of almostneveryone I worked with and they deserve to be put first.

    I also have hobbies that don't involve anything related to work. Other than the fact that I use a gun to kill animals, hunting/fishing/trapping are my main things. There's nothing better to me than watching the sun rise in the morning on the lake or in a treestand...except maybe watching it set. Both are nice...and recharge my batteries after a weeknofndealong with scum, refuse, and trash of the homo sapiens variety.

    Keep things in perspective guys, and don't get so into it you lose the things that really matter.
  13. KiloBravo

    KiloBravo Lifetime Newb

    I don't think I could have read this thread at a better time right now. I am still in the testing process for a department, but all is going well so far and my chances seem OK at making it to the academy. *knock on wood.* I need to hear what all of you veterans have to say about finding a balance between this job and home life. I can already tell you that I am super charged up about hopefully having this opportunity. I just hope that I remember to put the important things like family first and foremost. If any of you have anymore advice on the subject for somebody in my position, please feel free to share. I am all ears.
  14. packsaddle


    Jan 15, 2009
    Lots of good stuff so far.

    Thanks for sharing.

    But, those few who DO remember you are far more important than the many that won't.

    The boy you saved from drowning in a swollen creek, the piggy bank you recovered from a burglary suspect and returned to the little girl, the battered woman you convinced to leave that abusive relationship, etc. etc.

    Those are the things to dwell on, not the aggressive drunk you tased after the bar closed, not the whiny speeder that complained about you to the Chief or Sheriff, not the lazy officer that threw you under the bus for a promotion, etc. etc..
  15. old_pigpen

    old_pigpen Huh? What?

    Nov 4, 2007
    In a house
    My boss has a couple of sayings: "The job will never tell you its loves you" and "On your death bed, you will never say "I wish I could have spent more time at work."" Good advise no matter what your job is.

    The full time deputy that was our reserve coordinator made sure we reserve deputies didn't spend all our time at the SO and neglect our families. He even "fired" one reserve deputy that he felt was neglecting his family!
    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  16. Cochese

    Cochese Most mackinest CLM

    Jun 30, 2004
    Unmarked Rustbox

    I am burned out. I am tired of bosses. I'm tired of the ever present danger in light of my new baby. I'm tired of patrol work and dealing with drunks every night.

    I can't really do anything else and make as much money though. I'm going federal. No more uniform. Better pay, no more damn vest, no more walking or driving around in a target.

    I can barely make it through a shift in a patrol car without wanting to tear my uniform off.
  17. msu_grad_121

    msu_grad_121 BOOSH

    Sep 16, 2009
    NW Burbs
    Well, FWIW, I've heard time and again that 7-10 years is burn out territory. Apparently if you can make it past that mark, you're good. I'm not saying don't do it, but it could just be that time in your career. Of course, if you need to go Fed, no one's gonna blame you.

    I don't know that I've ever been fed up with the job, but at the same time I don't think I was ever consumed by it, either. I DO have a collection of PD shirts from various areas that I or my friends have visited, but I rarely if ever wear them.

    I've always been pretty good at leaving work at work, and try not to tell stories when I'm out with my friends. If I do, it's usually something awesome that happened or some way that I screwed the pooch that'll make people laugh. I've had to tell guys I work with that they're not allowed to piss and moan about work while we're out drinking, but of course we always end up discussing it a little bit.

    As has been previously stated, I work to live, not live to work. My days off are mine, and precious to me, too. But that's just me...
  18. Rabbi

    Rabbi The Bombdiggity Lifetime Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    San AntonioTexas
    One of the worst things about it all, is you have to hide a lot of it.

    In life, you get to be proud of what you do. If you are a rich man, you can drive a Ferrari. If you are a West Point grad, you wear the ring. If you are a Lawyer you can hang that sheepskin....

    It isnt just about "look at me..." no, the difference is, when you are a part of something else, doing something "more", a step above, sure, you get bragging rights, but it doesnt matter how people feel about you. You can enjoy the admiration and feed on the envy. You get to win no matter how someone feels about you, what you do, and how you show it.

    That is not true of Police work. It is one of the suckier aspects of getting behind the badge. No one is trying to kill, sue, hurt, ruin, destroy...(all with powerful ferver) Ferrari guy, Ring knocker guy, Super educated guy.... As a cop, every thing you do is wrong in someones eyes and everyone does get a say to some extent.

    I love it. I really do but in general, I have to keep it to myself except with those who understand and so far the only people I have found who understand are other LEO's.
    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  19. Dukeboy01

    Dukeboy01 Pretty Ladies!

    Apr 30, 2000
    Lexington, KY
    I was lucky. I got dumped on very early in my career and had any illusions that the "big blue machine" gave a rat's patoot about me personally crushed, stomped on, set afire, and run over with a bulldozer.

    I still like my job and I think I do it well. But I don't love it and I have no illusions that it loves me. I find that the best way to get through the bad days is to adopt a mercenary mindset. I'm also big into the collective bargaining and union thing and get a fair amount of satisfaction sticking it back to the bosses and the city that way.

    My first FTO was a real go getter. He was a former jarhead, a member of the SWAT team, a shirt- stay wearing company man through and through. You'd never catch him joining in a b*tch session or hear him speak a disparaging word against the bosses.

    He got himself promoted to sergeant and went to our training section. He had been there for awhile when a new commander came in. One thing led to another and he found himself getting the shaft and drummed out of the unit.

    He called me to talk about filing a grievance. He was really, really hurt by the way he was being done. I felt really sorry for him because he had done everything the department asked of him and more, only to finally run into a boss who was out to get him.

    Moving out of my jurisdiction also helped my mental health. There are days when I literally feel a weight lifting as I cross the county line and flip the police radio off.
    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  20. Sharky7

    Sharky7 Boomshakalaka

    Feb 21, 2009

    Good luck man. I am thinking the same thing, plan on going federal soon enough....I have it narrowed down to FBI and USSS. Unfortunately, neither are hiring now.