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How do you fight job burnout/ dept. burnout

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by BIGGUNS911, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. BIGGUNS911

    BIGGUNS911

    291
    1
    Nov 8, 2009
    in the NW
    I am into my 8Th year with the same department and I am finding it harder and harder to have a good outlook regarding my job. I am involved in training and other things in the department. I am hard worker and do my job well but all of that is not doing it for me. It seems like every week we have some new rule or regulation or problem that we get the shotgun effect to solve it. At one point I was with the administration and believed they were doing their best. Now I’m not a positive about that.

    I no longer like going to work and I hate that. I love my job and want to improve my department and community but I found each time I attempt to improve something I get kicked in the face. I have to work extra hard to get things done and got not respect or credit once it is done. A simple thanks would make things a lot better but those seem to hard for the administration to give out.

    So what do you all do when you get into a funk and need help pulling out of it?
     
  2. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

    8,798
    8
    Oct 28, 2005
    Circling the wagons.
    There is something to be said about loving what you do and hating where you do it.

    I just completed my eighth year. The last year has been the only bad one, and the next one looks to be much worse. The biggest lesson that I've learned in the last twelve months is that you get the exact same check whether you work your ass off or don't get off of it. It's the guys that work their asses off that attract the most attention.

    Last winter I took two weeks off, which ended up getting me something like 18 consecutive days with no work. The girlfriend and I drove across the country. No work phone calls, no work email, nothing. It was awesome. Looking forward to doing it again.
     


  3. Do you want the good news first, or the bad news ?

    Good news- Lots of guys will post lots of solid tips, based on what's helped them. Learn from guys who have been through it. It does get better. Focus on the people you can help in the job and focus on what helps you...

    Bad news- Sometimes you just have to ride it out, and I'm not sure any one thing will fix the burnout. I'm there now/again/still.
     
  4. Welcome to the club.....I decided a long time ago that I was not going to let ANYONE, ANYBODY OR ANYTHING take away my enthusiasm for doing my job, PERIOD !!!! Now with that being said, it sounds like you need a change of scenery. Take some time off to get a different perspective on things. If you can, try not to think about "the job" too much when you're off (notice I said "try"...:rofl:.). Trust me, it can be done as DaBigBR mentioned...

    Now, as far as trying to improve your department, that's another problem.......As long as you've made an conscientious effort to make a difference and/or positive changes, at least you can say that you've tried, as oppose to just sitting on the sidelines and complaining about issues. Persistence sometimes pays off, but on the other hand, it may not. It all depends on how strongly you feel about the changes you'd like to make and how much you're willing to sacrifice to make them. It also sounds like you may have a leadership problem at your department (most do)..That, I'm afraid, has to change at the top. Remember, you may not have control over how things are done at your department, but you do have control on how you deal with it. I hope this helps....:wavey:
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  5. fastbolt

    fastbolt

    11,145
    2,365
    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    Might be any number of influences going on at the same time ...

    Things like your age relative to the age of the admin/exec staff, for one thing.

    "Improving your dept & community", huh? Laudable. Commendable, even. That your own vision statement? ;)

    Yours may be just one opinion, though, and not necessarily the one that's responsible for steering the ship over the long course of its voyage.

    Your agency have a peer counselor program? It might be handy to speak with someone about things that are bugging you before they have an adverse effect upon your work.

    I remember being told (in an early in-service training/psych profile class) that making it past the critical 5 year point was just the first potential "crisis" point, and that the next one came along somewhere around almost 10 years on the job ... and then about every 5 years thereafter. Maybe so. It certainly seemed that some burnout could be seen making its appearance in cycles among folks I knew in the job over time, myself included.

    It's also not uncommon to hear some younger folks who are expressing job dissatisfaction point out how they work so hard (and even so much harder than their peers) and would like some credit for their efforts. Some also claim others receive more credit for less effort. Well, if you got into this line of work for the accolades and positive feedback, you may not have read the job description all the way to the end. ;)

    There's some wisdom in the old saying to "work smarter, not harder", even (especially) in police work.

    I remember looking back at the frustrations of my first 8-10 year period after I'd reached my 15+ year point. Very little of what I looked back upon seemed like it had been worth my time to get worked up about and become frustrated.

    Then again, at the 25 year point I found myself looking back at the previous 10 years and again wondering why I'd gotten annoyed and bothered by some of the things I'd let cause me some frustration (which really only came to my attention when listening to the complaints of some less senior folks who had finally reached the 15+ year point in their careers).

    I decided to pull the plug on my career shy of the 30 year point, myself. I still felt good about things and everything I'd accomplished and contributed to my agency, but it was time to return more attention to my family and decide how I wanted to spend the rest of my life.

    Besides, I'd reached that age and time in-service where I was seeing increasingly more instances of folks who worked long past the time they were fully vested in their retirement, but continued to work and in many instances had become embittered people, compared to a growing number of folks I knew who had retired and were really enjoying themselves. A surprising number of folks from this second group seemingly looked and acted years younger than I'd remembered seeing when they were still working, too. I wanted to join that group. I didn't want to become an embittered 30, 35, 40 or 45 year veteran who finally took resentments off into retirement.

    Our careers pass more quickly than we might suspect.

    Now, I did some paid consulting and some volunteer work after I retired, but only because it was convenient and was asked of me. It didn't take long for the paid consulting to become a bit tiresome, but I found it was satisfying to continue volunteering from time to time with some training issues. I was happier than I'd been before retirement, too.

    Sure, look for ways to help improve your dept and the quality of service you help provide to your community, but don't think it's your job to do so alone, or even to define the vision for how those goals are going to be best accomplished. Pull with the dept, not against it. Everybody will benefit. Don't let work environment frustrations take years off your life. Don't let them follow you home, either.

    It really is just a job, you know, as much as we like to throw around words like career, profession, calling, etc. ;)

    You going to be one of those folks who define themselves by their career choice and path, or as the person you are outside of your employment?
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  6. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    7,357
    916
    Mar 14, 2005
    USA
    After all these years I think I have figured it out. You must be really lousy at your job, then you are a sure thing for a promotion. Being really stupid and not having any education helps. Then you must take out all of you frustration caused by your own inadequacies on everyone else, especially college educated officers cause we all know a college education doesn't help with anything. You must also develop a condition where the word "yes" is your only response to anything. Eventually though, you will get a top notch online "Master's Degree" in Public Relations, then you will be unstoppable.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  7. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

    7,402
    130
    Mar 29, 2005
    Kansas
    When you figue it out, let me know. I'll keep reading and trying things until something works.

    Our new mandate is to drive around. Stop arresting people and drive around.

    The Dept. I work for has always had issues, they all do. When I got here, all the major issues were started by three of the "leaders". Now, all the major issues are the same three "leaders" plus a few of the profession fellating dbags they have recruited.

    Out of tweny-some full-time LEO's, I know of eight who are looking for other places to work just to get away from the crap-storm here. This includes our entire detective staff and one of the shift "leaders" (of course, the only one I have any respect for).

    If anone is interested in readng about some specific examples of our level of excellence, I would love to type out some examples. I doubt anyone would believe some of them actually happened as posted.
     
  8. :rofl::rofl:.....Oh, do tell.....
     
  9. ashtxsniper

    ashtxsniper TX Open Carrier

    666
    0
    Feb 4, 2007
    Illegalvile Texas
    Fighting burnout now. Vacation didnt help, wished I could find a way to get rid of it.
     
  10. cowboywannabe

    cowboywannabe you savvy?

    21,423
    5,075
    Jan 26, 2001
    for most its impossible to do anything other than ride it out. the reason being that most are at smaller agencies that do not have room for lateral changes to break up the monotany(sp?) of what ever rut youre in.

    low pay, poor benefits, inadequate manpower, and so on doesnt give one much to look forward to when they come in to work.

    busting your hump only to get beat down by the system doesnt help either when you see sloths promoted or moved into easy jobs while youre still on rotating shifts with weekends and holidays.....


    all i can say is do it for your kids, they count on you.

    if you dont have kids, leave the dept. youre at and go to another that offers you more.
    you cant love a job that doesnt love you back.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  11. trdvet

    trdvet

    1,374
    5
    Oct 2, 2004
    Become a ROD.
    Quit.
    Transfer to a new division.
    Suck it up and continue to be miserable.

    Good luck to you, we've all been there.
     
  12. Don't laugh too hard. North Carolina Department of Correction is hiring. Some camps are better than others. Different people like different custody levels. But stick the first couple years out, make Sergeant or get into Programs, and it's a pretty good way to go IMO. Kind of like being on the opposite side of the same coin as LE. The pay is not as good, but compared to some of the horror stories I have read here about benefits and job security, it starts to look a whole lot better.

    Might be worth a thought, especially for someone who is about to hang it up, but can't imagine doing anything else.
     
  13. CJStudent

    CJStudent Fenced In

    11,060
    50
    Nov 3, 2005
    KY
    So is BOP, for that matter. We have a lot of former local cops where I work at.
     
  14. pal2511

    pal2511

    3,980
    0
    Sep 15, 2002
    KS
    Ive been at this local SMALL agency for about 3 years. Some days I am burned out. Worked at my first agency in MO for a little over 5 years and it was a large agency with many positions but I stuck with the same one. Now I am looking at basically 9 years on the job in October if you don't count my little break I had in between MO and KS.

    Lately I have been burned out bickering with the bosses. I wanted to change things when I first started because it appeared things were ass backwards. Some of the people at my department appeared to be lazy and not too functional and some of those are downright dangerous. I tell myself though I have 30 second commute to work. I get to take as many breaks as I want and I don't get *****ed at for taking a hour lunch or 5 minute lunch. I don't get told to write tickets or not to write tickets and no one looks at how many arrests I have done.

    For the last couple weeks I have told myself also I get paid the same rather I work my butt off or not. Hell if i don't do much besides the minimum I stay out of managements hair. Do what you can during your shift and remember you have to go home and live with yourself. As long as your doing something good for the community and yourself than you will be fine
     
  15. pal2511

    pal2511

    3,980
    0
    Sep 15, 2002
    KS
    Also take a long vacation away from work and out of town if possible.

    :) I try to take a 3 or 4 day vacation every few months rather than one huge one a year.
     
  16. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

    8,798
    8
    Oct 28, 2005
    Circling the wagons.
    And remember this: somebody always has it worse. There are a lot of unemployed and underemployed cops out there these days...and most of them would take your job if they could, and nobody would miss you if you were gone.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  17. packsaddle

    packsaddle

    1,197
    55
    Jan 15, 2009
    had a retired big city cop once tell me that the city breeds insanity.

    i'm partial to the rural SO anyway.

    good balance of calls/no calls.

    no micromanagement from the brass (if there is any brass).

    if things get crazy or stupid i can just take a drive through the scenic countryside to clear my mind.

    gazing at the abundant wildlife and/or stars in the sky has a therapeutic effect.

    yes, the pay is low and yes there are always one or two idiots in the department but those things are to be expected.

    country folks are generally friendly and will wave to you most of the time while driving down the country roads.

    there's just something about having coffee in the morning with a bunch of farmers/ranchers in a small town cafe that helps bring everything into proper perspective.

    maybe a change of scenery is all you need.
     
  18. COLOSHOOTR

    COLOSHOOTR

    835
    78
    Sep 29, 2005
    Colorado
    It's best to look at it the way all the old timers with 20 plus years end up looking at it.... Just say, "F it I don't care."

    Believe me I work for one of the worst Departments you can work for right now. No training, no movement, poor staffing, no equipment budget, crappy cars, horrible MDT software that makes reports take hours and the media here hates us. We also have a command staff that really does not care about us, only cares about stats, and will not defend us even if our actions were within policy.....

    The problem is I make pretty good money and will end up taking a pretty good pay cut to go anywhere else. At first it was driving me crazy and I was ticked off wanting to leave. Then listened to the senior guys and learned to just go with the flow, handle my calls and not work my tail off increasing my chances of getting hurt. You get paid the same if you go hit it and haul in 10 BG's or if you take your time, handle your calls and do a few reports.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  19. scottydl

    scottydl

    2,682
    53
    May 31, 2005
    The Middle
    I am feeling really thankful about my situation right NOW... but less than a year ago (and for several years before that) I was in your situation, and quite disgruntled with my agency at the time.

    My solution was to quit and go somewhere else. Granted, that was a long process and only happened after a lot of contemplation, praying, and discussions with my wife (make sure your family is supportive of any move you make). It was scary to make a move after 9 years, at an agency where I had always planned on staying my entire career. But things were only getting worse and I wasn't willing to "go down with the ship" so to speak.

    I took a decent pay cut up front, but my wife and I budgeted for it and I will easily make it up (and more) in 3-4 years.

    Just do some research and make sure you are considering all your options.
     
  20. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

    8,798
    8
    Oct 28, 2005
    Circling the wagons.
    The other thing that I'll add is that administrations tend to come and go. You'll see several of them if you stick it out long enough. I was told in college that the average tenure for a Chief of Police is four years, and I believe it. So many of these guys jump agencies and so many of them get run out or canned by the city administration that time is on your side. I've been in eight years and am on my second admin and know for a fact that I'll be seeing a new one next year.