Wow! You guys have given me enough blog topics to last a month. Okay, at least a week. LOL!I reserve the right to answer in any order I feel like. Since so many of you asked job related questions I'll start there.
Johnny asked "What led you to your current profession? Happenstance or childhood desire?" The second half of your question may require a whole other post. Seriously.
Here's the answer. I’d just started taking classes at our local community college with the intention of eventually transferring to a 4 yr school to pursue a degree in psychology. One day my mom asked if I wanted to go with her to take a couple of civil service examinations.
In order to get a job with our “city” you first fill out an application (if you meet the job requirements) and take a civil service test. You’re placed on an eligibility list based on how you score. They start at the top and work their way down through the list of candidates until they hire someone. Every city employee has to do this whether you’re a garbage man, the person who fills in potholes, a police officer or firefighter, a groundskeeper at the city golf course, an accountant, whatever.....
I don’t know why she asked me to go. Whether it was for moral support, or to keep her company, or because she really wanted me to have a shot at one of these jobs. Whatever the case, I decided since I wasn’t doing anything else that day, I’d go. I took the tests for "Parking Enforcement Aide" (which is a glorified name for a Meter Maid) and "Water Meter Reader".
Long story short, I got offered the meter maid job. At the time, it sounded like a good deal. I was fresh out of high school and making $3 bucks an hour working in a restaurant. This job was a lot more pay, great benefits and it was full time. So I took it.
Because it was a day job and my college classes were during the day, I dropped out for that quarter. My intention was to continue working towards a degree taking a smaller class load at night. Well, as those of you who know me are aware, I’m a procrastinator. Big time. So one semester led to another and a couple years later I decided to become a police officer. I never went back to college.
As a meter maid, I was working within the police department with police officers. I got a lot of exposure as to what they did. In my job, I towed cars, wrote parking tickets and directed traffic. We were some of the most hated people in the city. Seriously. I mean, who doesn’t get pissed off when they get a parking ticket?
I was a civilian employee with no gun, no pepper spray, no taser and no arrest powers. Which was really good experience for later on after I’d been bitten by the bug. The bug to go into law enforcement, I mean. Those years of being screamed at, cussed out and threatened taught me how to talk my way out of precarious situations. It taught me how to control my temper and be patient. Because I didn’t have the option of just arresting somebody if they pissed me off….err I mean.... if they did something illegal. LOL!
Once I’d decided to become a police officer, I had to wait until I was old enough to take the test. So when I was finally 21 yrs old I took it and scored #17 out of about 2500 applicants. After a grueling background process of psychological evaluations, polygraph tests, interviews, physicals and the like, I got accepted into the police academy. Six months later, I graduated at the top of my class. And I have a plaque to prove it. LOL!
So that’s the story of how I became a police officer. It wasn’t a childhood dream or a lifelong ambition. Just completely a fluke. I wonder what my life would be like if I’d gotten the water meter reader job instead? Or if I’d not gone that day to take the tests at all? Maybe I’d be a psychologist. Interesting, eh?