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Leaving the force doubts


1TILL5
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Hello, so below is a tale of woe that no doubt people have heard dozens of times but any guidance or thoughts would help, (details are vague as I'd rather no one being able to work out who I am)

So I joined the police very young but it was a dream job for me, it's all I'd wanted to do it since i was a kid although unlike most I could never see myself doing any one job for 30/40 years so I never went in being what I'd call job p......

I got 5 years in, a real rollercoaster, some fantastic achievements & experiences but a lot of down points, towards the end, despite being under no illusion the job would be easy,  I had the following feelings 

-Bitterness at the way police were viewed & treated. 

-Bored of the internal competition between departments (e.g people being obsessed with joining firearms, other departments arguably not pulling their weight ,just the general feeling the "blue light family" isn't quite as it's sold)  

-Amazed by the poor leadership & terrified by the quality of people being promoted & recruited

-Feeling that you was thought worse of for being proactive & hardworking 

-Frustrated by the ever increasing mental health, "missing" people & Facebook squabbles and gradually feeling less able to help

-Scared that you are always one mistake away not just from sack (that can happen anywhere) but from a lengthy and public investigations

-Bored of feeling friends saw me as a copper first and a person second 

-The restrictions on private life (the feeling I couldn't do some hobbies and interests for reasons too boring to go into)

-The cancelled days off and shifts (this one I could live with if there wasn't so much of the above)

All this led me to think, take the good memories & experiences but get out why you can and are young enough to change

 careers. I was worried I'd regret it but I walked out feeling like a weight was off my shoulders.

 

In short, I felt the job was taking more and more and giving less and less. I appreciate every job has it down sides but police seemed to have a intense mix of issues. 

 

However after leaving I have a feeling that I can't really explain in words but giving it a go I feel sadness,  like for all it's faults I was passionate about my job, I was ok at it and it was motivating. I feel like for better or worse being a copper is what I was meant to do. (cheesy i know)

 

Obviously there's personal things at play but I was just wondering if anyone has had experience of this or know people who have ? How they coped with civi life? If maybe there's better ways of coping or dealing with above concerns?  Any signs the job will get better? Just after general thoughts or words of wisdom really. 

 

Sorry for length of post and thanks in advance 

Edited by 1TILL5
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I'm sorry that you had a less-than-positive experience towards the end. 

I am not police (although hoping to join), but it sounds like you had the worse. Did you think about transferring forces (or depts)? Or doing similar, like Border Force, NCA?

What do you do now?

I have a similar experience as I'm shortly leaving an environment that I've been in for sixteen years, but for me it is the right thing to do. I think you've got to enjoy the reasons you left - your family, friends, home life, person first not copper, not dealing with Facebook spats, not going to be sacked anytime soon, etc. Focus on those bits that you can enjoy now!

Also, try and find something that you think you'll like, work wise and just see, it may become a future passion. Youth work, volunteering, driving can all be strangely therapeutic & allow you to 'serve' in a different way. 

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Such a large-scale change is going to cause ambivalence, especially if it involves you leaving a career that you had viewed for so long as your dream job. But for what it's worth, I think you're doing the right thing: if you're having such serious doubts about it, then leaving whilst you can still view the role and your work within it in a positive light is a good thing.

I think Wilts20 asked a good question: have you considered employment with similarities? It might be a kinder transition than going straight from police to civilian life, especially if the former was so overwhelmingly prevailing in your day-to-day.

It could just be initial jitters, but it's worth not downplaying how you're feeling about things. Hopefully it improves for you, but focusing on the positives might be a worthwhile thing: why you left, what leaving now frees you up to do, and what aspects of your life you can explore now that you have a degree of freedom that you didn't have before.

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thanks for replies, genuinely appreciated. 

Very cautious about going into detail about new job for various reasons, but it is similar in lot of ways & certainly not boring but a very different way of working. 

 

I suppose I wonder if every job as pros and cons but people find a way to deal with all of the above listed. 

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9 hours ago, 1TILL5 said:

thanks for replies, genuinely appreciated. 

Very cautious about going into detail about new job for various reasons, but it is similar in lot of ways & certainly not boring but a very different way of working. 

 

I suppose I wonder if every job as pros and cons but people find a way to deal with all of the above listed. 

I think some would call it a loss of identity, members of the military are a good example of this. You belong to a community that in some respects is insular for many reasons, after all how can your civilian friends understand the stress and strain of your occupation. The highs are off the chart and the lows are filled with such misery and hurt that expecting members of the public to understand is pointless. 
 

First you should accept that, that part of your life is done and that’s not something to be sad about, you did something many could never. You helped more people than most people will ever in a lifetime. That’s something to be proud of, when you reflect just remember the good you did. 
 

Poor leadership is ultimately what results in the loss of people from any uniformed organisation, unfortunately people aren’t paid for preforming, they are paid for a rank, that ultimately means (for many) their ego and arrogance leads them to be horrendous leaders, lacking determination and not inspirational in anyway. 
 

There are loads of roles out there you could do with similarities where you would get to use your investigative mindset, but don’t ever expect it to match the adrenaline you had previously. 

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You are right, EVERY job has its pros and cons and its a personal choice on what and how many cons you can deal with.  Remember, there was life before policing and strangely enough there is life after policing.  I'll do a bot of soothsaying and predict that when you say you are going the will all wish you well.BUT it will just after they ask 'What's in your locker I can have?'  and as a truly valued member of the family, we need to recognise that your place will already have been deemed as remaining vacant or it has already been filled.  
Enjoy the next adventure

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I have absolutely no doubt you 've made the correct choice.

I know you feel ambivalent about it now, but that's only because of the finality of closing such an important chapter in your life. Being in this job has, by and large, become an abusive and toxic relationship (entirely at our expense) which we desperately pray will finally become something positive and tolerable. Unfortunately for most of us that don't have the right connections/lineage or tick the necessary diversity boxes, we are destined to be relegated to all the unpopular aspects of the job, especially response officers.

Like yourself, I was simply too idealistic for this job and it has absolutely eaten me up inside at how I genuinely want to help victims and lock up criminals, only to be blocked by procedural, political and legal bureaucracy that has been designed and implemented to deliberately prevent officers from bringing criminals to justice and by extension, failing to protect victims of crime. 

If I weren't in the very specific personal circumstances I have been in for the last 3 years, I would have resigned and not suffered as much as a I have. I genuinely do not believe that any Home Office force is actually helping society and is in fact actively contributing to the further decline of our society with the rules, laws and regulations we are forced to apply.

Don't ever doubt yourself over this decision, I can honestly tell you, hand on heart, it's simply not worth it, and those of us who aren't trapped by outside factors will all tell you that given the opportunity, we 'd follow you out that door in a heartbeat.

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Posted in error

Edited by Noman94
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Cheers again for all the above. useful to know I’m not just bitter and that lot of people have same views on management etc. 
 

After a Few more days of settling  on it I  just think it’s a case of seeing if the new job has more pros thans cons. Early days but already been asked how I’m doing by managers more time than I ever did in the police however still lots of doubts and negatives. I get points made about closing chapter but when I left it was always in my back of my mind I’d consider coming back if try alternative wasn’t substantially better (maybe a unhealthy of doing it but it is what it is) 
 

Have a lot of sympathy for you Jack, I probably wouldn’t go quite as far as you in my view of job but understand where you are coming from. 

 

having left now I’ve realised how much of a blur the last few years have been. If anyone is reading this thread I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a break and reflect, even if you love the job. 
 

Whilst I’ve been fairly lucky in the sense I’ve kept semi healthy, kept my friends (even though it was frustrating how little they understood my job) etc etc I’ve really noticed how much the job can take over your life.  Obviously any job can lend itself to rat racing but I think the 24/7 nature of the job, coupled with the way you view your experience I’m terms of how many years you have in is scary. I’ve realised that I was trying to survive for 6 days, knackered on 2 rest days and spent 2 rest days trying to cram in social activities with taking them in and actually enjoying them. I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom but I’d just advise people to slow down and take stock. I have so many mates who worried about getting through their two years, then worried about courses and permits now worry about that side way move or promotion but for what? Despite all the doubts and overthinking I’ve already done more meaningful activities and enjoyable  with friends and family in last few weeks than I probably did in last few years. Maybe it will wear off and the pay cut may eventually become an issue but my point is the job gives you tunnel vision.  

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23 hours ago, 1TILL5 said:

I’ve realised that I was trying to survive for 6 days, knackered on 2 rest days and spent 2 rest days trying to cram in social activities with taking them in and actually enjoying them. 

I have so many mates who worried about getting through their two years, then worried about courses and permits now worry about that side way move or promotion but for what? Despite all the doubts and overthinking I’ve already done more meaningful activities and enjoyable  with friends and family in last few weeks than I probably did in last few years. Maybe it will wear off and the pay cut may eventually become an issue but my point is the job gives you tunnel vision.  

Perfectly summed up. This job ends up owning your soul and there's nothing worse than feeling that you sold it cheap.

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No one can tell you what is right for you, but reading your post and in between the lines, I’m wondering if you’d come to the end of the road on the frontline and needed a change to something more specialist. It happens to most and there’s nothing more demoralising than sitting in a car with the old sweat telling you how the job is ######. Or watching someone who’s lazy, incompetent and uncaring climb the promotion ladder. 

Mixed in with this it seems you’re struggling to get that bit of escapism with non-police people. They’ll never get the job, your partner won’t - my Mrs and mates don’t.

Most police forces are in the top 5 biggest employers in terms of numbers of people in their area and there’s all sorts of places you can go and things you can do. Most specialisms are a completely different beast to being a frontline response  cop. The truth is on response you shovel a lot of ####, silly jobs we shouldn’t be attending involving Facebook; petty neighbour disputes; public order incidents were someone has said something that’s not very nice etc etc. We really have become Ghostbusters - because who else do people call to solve their problems? Where I am things have got much better with mental health and missing children from care homes - as the job are pushing back and telling other services to do their job first and not ring us due to their staff shortages.

I say to a lot don’t be afraid to leave if it’s right for you. But - for you - don’t be afraid to turn and come back if you’re missing it. Maybe look to change Forces or look at BTP or CND Police as a change (which can be as good as a rest).

The job is a vocation and will define you whilst you’re in it. And I see bobbies now coming towards retirement and can see how they’ll struggle on civvy street. The hard fact is there’s always one idiot above you in the police (whatever your rank); clowns can and do get promoted (usually a cupboard is eventually found for them somewhere they can’t cause too much damage), you just need to learn how to either manage, ignore or say no to them - or all three - in a polite way.

Good luck however things pan out for you.

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Thanks. 
 

intersting that, was Definitely getting worse where I was in terms of attending stuff that at very least didn’t need police there taking primacy. 
 

Always thought the fact there was so many roles internally to be both blessing and curse but yes I’m keeping open mind in new job but keeping my eye on police vaccanies at some more suitable forces 

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18 hours ago, 1TILL5 said:

Thanks. 
 

intersting that, was Definitely getting worse where I was in terms of attending stuff that at very least didn’t need police there taking primacy. 
 

Always thought the fact there was so many roles internally to be both blessing and curse but yes I’m keeping open mind in new job but keeping my eye on police vaccanies at some more suitable forces 

If you still fancy policing but not the full-time lifestyle, you could re-join as a Special, so you can just do the bits that you want and not get to sucked in to it all. Just an idea.

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