Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Burn Out

I think I've hit the wall. There's always a certain amount of stress involved in my job. But for the last few weeks, it's been overwhelming. I feel like I can't breathe, like there's a huge weight sitting right on my chest. As I'm getting ready for work in the mornings, the headache starts and it stays with me all day. Your job shouldn't do that to you.

I used to love it. The job. But I'm beginning to question that commitment.

We're down over 100 police officers in a city that is becoming increasingly more violent by the day. I understand this is a bad economic time right now but I'm tired of hearing "do more with less". No matter how hard I work... I don't feel like it makes a difference. That's one of the reasons I became a police officer. To make a difference. Sure I liked the thrill of high speed car chases and the lure of free donuts. But when I was 22 yrs old and full of hope and opportunity, I truly felt like maybe I could contribute something positive and maybe make a little difference in this world with the career I'd chosen. Now 14 yrs later, I'm feeling totally defeated.

I see the same people over and over again. Do we really ever take a criminal off the streets? Temporarily maybe. But he'll be back.

And we're always fighting. Fighting to do the right thing, to stay on top of the work that needs to be done. Fighting the criminals who hate us, and increasingly more and more of the citizens that feel that way, too. Even that fight I can handle. It's always been there since my very first day out of the police academy.

But I feel so beat down right now by all the fighting that's going on within our organization. We don't feel supported by the command or the government in this city. Not at all. There are changes being proposed by the people in power that could completely change the course of my career. Derail it, in fact.

(Caution... major venting ahead.)

And why would I be removed from my position? Not because I don't do the work. Not because I don't bust my ass for this job. Not because I get bad evaluations. Not because I don't have the knowledge, skill and experience to effectively perform the tasks of my current assignment. I'd be removed why? Because I'm a woman? Not on the SWAT team? Not kiss ass enough? Not one of the "favorites"? Or is it just because I'm me and this person in power has preconceived notions of who that is? Cuz lord knows he doesn't really know me and never has. Well, I can't change being me.

So how difficult do you think it is to come in every day and feel motivated to do this work? When no matter what I do it's already been decided that if these changes take place, I'm out? Unfairly and unjustly, of course. But still... I'd be pushed backwards in my career just because you have the power and I don't. That really fucking sucks. Why should I bust my ass for you when you've already decided and publicly announced that you want to pick your own detective? Well, since I'm already your assigned detective, I think your message is very clear.

On top of that uncertainty, this has been an especially bad week with the shit we've had to deal with, too. I try so hard to keep my emotions out of it. To stay strong, put on that brave face and just deal with it. But seeing the tragedy day in and day out just wears you down.

This week alone we've seen a 66 yr old pizza delivery guy robbed and beaten so severely that he may never recover, a 21 mth and 8 mth old left by their father in the bottom of a trash can.... alone, scared, hungry and thirsty.... for 13 hrs, an 85 yr old veteran of 3 wars robbed and beaten to death in his own home and today a 6 mth old was murdered. I sat at my desk this afternoon and had to listen to that baby's mother wail in despair over the loss of her child. The sounds of that pain coming from the depths of her very being made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I haven't been able to shake it off even 8 hrs later.

Today I feel broken. My heart hurts. Tears have been shed. I don't have the strength to deal with any of it right now. Today I wish I had gone to college, chosen a different career and settled out in the suburbs where I could live in a bubble like a normal person and not have to see this shit.

My broken spirit needed some mental health days so I'm off work until Monday. Hopefully by then I'll be refreshed, recharged and ready to face the world again. But for right now.... I'm just gonna pull the covers over my head and try to make it all go away.


Island Girl said...


I wish I could give you advice or words that could help you out during this time but I can't.

Instead just know that there are people out there that you have never personally met who will pray for you tonight because sometimes the good guys need a little helping hand!!!


Hanne said...

Krista, I feel so bad for you, that you are going through all of this. I hope things will work out for you, and you are in my thoughts.

Hanne from Denmark

Carla said...

Sorry things are so crappy at work. I try to avoid some of the negative crap by ignoring the news,but I guess you don't really have that option when it is dropped on your door step.

Try to enjoy your days off. And leave the news turned off.

a Tonggu Momma said...

I am so very, very sorry. All too often the rest of us forget (or ignore) the emotional toll these types of jobs take. I am so sorry - thank you - hugs - and I said a prayer for you tonight.

Debbie said...

So sorry you are having to deal with this!! It is just so unfair!! Anymore, picking up and moving somewhere else for a fresh start cannot happen!!! I hope these next few days will bring you comfort, healing and most of all some recharging!!! I for one am very thankful for the police officers who put their lives on the line to protect me and my family!!! You may not live near me, but hats off to you for what you do!!!! Stand up and take a bow, you deserve it!!!

Stephe said...

OMG, hugs. My heart hurts for your pain right now. No matter what the drama though...YOU DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. A HUGE ONE! Imagine the utter ciaos without you and those men and women on your force! I know it sucks. I pray it gets better. Many of us appreciate you all but I hear you, it SUCKS when the powers above SUCK! Sorry, lack of a better word. Chin up girl. Soon little MIA will make your everyday be BRIGHT!

Polar Bear said...

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with all of this. I can't imagine how difficult it must be. I hope you can use the next few days to re-coop and re-group. I have faith that you will ride out this torrential storm and come out better and stronger for it.


Sandra said...

I am sorry you are going through a tough time right now. You may remember I once told you I once thought about becoming a police officer. To this day I admire cops who risk their lives and who give so much of themselves to protect others.

I hope you can find a way to find peace within yourself.

Diana said...

I honestly can not IMAGINE what you deal with daily. I am SORRY for all you are going through and wish I had a magic wand to make it all better..I honestly feel with the economy the way it is it will get worse.

Kayce said...

You are an amazing woman. Amazing. I can not fathom what your job is like and how hard it must be during these trying times. You are such an inspiration to young girls out there who want to walk in your shoes like my step-daughter. Thank you for doing what you do. I hope that your time off is healing. Know that you are in my prayers constantly K.

Randi said...

I am so sorry that you are going through all of this. I can only imagine how difficult it is to see such horror every day. I hope that you can find something to lift your spirits for a while. Have a good weekend.


Two Kayaks said...

I am so sorry, K. I don't, for one minute, take for granted our police force here in Canada. I imagine that the grass isn't greener for any police force in this day and age. The cuts are in the wrong places and I don't get it.
I can't imagine doing what you do every single day. It is one of the hardest and demanding jobs out there and to feel beaten down for doing it must be horrible.
I hope that the next few days renew your spirit and your drive.

Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

I am sorry.. I can not even imagine what you are going through.. I know you are an AMAZING lady and you will feel better once you get some recharge time.. I hope things get better..
Take a nice relaxing time off..

Rhonda said...

I can't even imagine what you're going through and I'm not going to pretend that I do. I'm so sorry that your job is taking its toll on you.

I hope the few days you have off help.

Thinking of you. *hugs*

nora said...

Sorry that you are going through all of this!

But what I can say is THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU DO! As citizens I think that we don't even realize-or want to admit the shit that you all have to do. It takes amazing strength and love to do that. And thank you!
Nora in Wisconsin

3D said...

What you have to face everyday is something no one should have to deal with. In a perfect world, it would not exist. Thank you for protecting and standing up for those who can't.

I wish I could help more and go and give that dink a kick in the ass for being an ass.

Enjoy your time off and turn it all off.

Keep smilin!

thegreybullet said...

Let me begin by thanking you for your great service. Unfortunately people in your position get the short end of the stick. You deal with the negative day in and day out. I am so sorry for all you are going through right now. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that this time off brings some peace to you and your spirit to be recharged!

Wendy said...

That sucks....I am sorry.

Miche said...

Oh K, I am so sorry to hear how tough the budget cuts in your area have been for the police force, and I am so sad to hear of all the stress you are under. I only comment now and then, but I have been reading your blog for a long time and I just wanted to let you know I'm sending you a mental hug and hoping that you are able to shake off the pressure over the weekend. Get some good rest *hugs!*

~K said...

Ohhhhh How I feel your pain. Burn out is the worst feeling ever. Last year was possible the worst one I had in that department. It is a terrible thing to feel like you are not appreciated at your job. The feeling of being ineffective (due to things being completely out of your control) is just heart wrenching. I shed those same tears many times in the last 12 months wondering if I should have chose a different profession. The difference with me is that I did have someone (finally) who supported me and did everything in her power to help make changes...

It doesn't sound like you have that support. I'm so sorry for that. Seeing the things you do on a daily basis is enough to make anyone crack... without support of your superiors... it's just so defeating.

You DO need to take some time off to take care of your self and try to remember why you did choose that career, remember the pride that you have in being so good at your job. Because you are good at your job... no-one can take that away from you...

Would it be wrong to look outside of your city for a position in a smaller suburban area, where the appreciation factor would be positive... the "clientele" less horrific? Maybe it's not the career as much as it is the unchangeable environment that you are faced with day in and out.

It never hurts to look elsewhere... because if you decide to stay where you are it's your choice... not your defeat.

I hope that all came out right!! lol!

I hope you are doing something fun this weekend... like I mentioned... your ALWAYS welcome in mi casa!!!


Donna said...

I'm so sorry you're having doubts about your career...that's really tough. I, for one, always appreciate the job our police officers do and what they put up with!

Briana's Mom said...

I can't even imagine everything you go through each day in your career. I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time right now.

PIPO said...

Whhhhhat??? I'm sorry. Feeling fried to a frazzle over work is one of the worst feelings ever.

Yep, do find some peace under the covers. Take some true downtime and recharge.

After sometime out of the mix I hope the path becomes clearer for you.

Michelle said...

I don't have the words to express how sorry I am that you are having such a tough time. It sounds unbelievably hard. And you are appreciated, even if you don't hear it or see it every day.

I hope you are able to recharge this weekend. Take care.

Wendy said...

Even though I am not a cop, work on the fire service side, I can relate to some of those feelings that you have. Take those mental health days and go de-stress and have some fun. Maybe clear your head a bit. I feel for you, I really, really do. (hugs)

Kristy said...

I wish I could say something tht would make you feel better but this is something that words are not going to fix. Lots and lots of soul searching. My heart breaks for you and I will be saying a prayer for you. The one thing I will say is that it is not a disgrace to change careers, in your line of work especially , you see more in one week than most people see in a lifetime, so take your time and think things thru and pray and I am sure you will get your answers.

Love and blessings, Kristy

Lesa said...

K, I am so feeling for you right now. My husband has a stressful job as well, but not as bad as this. He works with the Veterans and sees a great deal that has came from the war.
I know you have your days with PTSD and especially with hearing a mother cry from the depths of her soul.
Kristy is so right. There is no shame in rethinking a career path. You are young and things can still turn around differently for you.
I am so sorry you have to go through all of this and not to mention having a job that can be jeopardized due to one persons decision over you, that sucks.
I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Take plenty of rest this weekend and leave that news off of your TV!!
Huge Hugs,

GGHadden said...

Oh NO! Don't you give in, I know you won't. We need girls like you on the force whether it be up there or down here....we need a smiling, friendly face on scene. A women's compassion cannot be matched and your drive and determination is what has made you the strong woman you are today. I know times are tough and you have every right to vent but you know this is the kind of work you thrive on. I hope your weekend is super and that you can try and relax thru this ever changing time. I can truly say I know what you are feeling and what you see is difficult to process at times-we are still human just with really big walls up around us :)
How is that for a pep talk.........holy crap I was on a rant there.
Enjoy your time off like a rock star!

k1 said...

"a woman who stives to be equal with man lacks ambition".

'a woman has to work twice as hard as a man to be considered half as good".

These have been proven over and over. Remember that you ARE able and capable and good at what you do.

I sent you an email with some info. I hope you can use it.

Kris said...

don't you see, brave girl, those people in the burbs aren't the norm- they just live in a different place? you face the norm most of us are too afraid admit even EXISTS. it's the reason MOST of us, living in our burbs, pick up our remotes, and hit mute or turn the channel, when the news gets that bad.

but you, brave amazing soul- you are OUR hero- in spite of your (much deserved and NORMAL burn out) face this- literally- day in and day out- and whether you recognize it or not...

you DO make a difference. even if it only comes in holding ONE hand. you make a difference. you save one life, you make a difference. you stop one crime. you make a difference.

i sit here reading this, and again, i am IN AWE of you.

i have tears literally streaming down my face. i only wish more of us could be half as strong and courageous and empathetic. what a better world this would be with more Kristas.

xo. you need some you time. but you never needed college or the burbs. you are right where you belong.

Kris said...

ps. (and the asswipes trying to push you out of your position need to realize that).