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what could i do next? life after police?

(78 Posts)
ThatVikRinA22 Mon 29-Oct-12 16:55:22

soul searching time but i think i know the answer, i am just so unhappy and stressed.

there are absolutely no incentives to continue in the job - not one. i keep thinking i got in, i was lucky, i should stick it out, but im unhappy. Really i used to be quite happy go lucky, now im just miserable all the time.

the pay and conditions do not reflect the levels of risk and stress.
the stress is unbearable. (im not getting chance to do my day to day enquiries for my own crime list - so im just picking up more and more work and not managing to sort any of it)
even when i am doing my best and getting good results, im getting complaints from people who, despite the fact i update weekly, dont think things are going their way fast waiting for results from other departments like forensics....but its all just not good enough for some people.

im currently ill and awaiting some tests, but the people i work along side are just snippy and snide about it, im currently on ABs again for a chest infection and felt i had to use my Annual leave rather than sick leave and still, i know that something will be said when i go back....

i feel used, and abused.
there are not enough of us anymore - the workload is unrealistic and the risks are much more now as there is frequently no back up to jobs where violence has been used, knives being used, etc
from next year, even xmas day will not be worked for enhanced pay - im sure no one in the private sector works for the same rate of pay as normal on xmas day?even pubs charge more at xmas....
the pension is going up again, (i currently pay £200 per month to it) but wont be able to be claimed until im on my zimmer frame....i cant see how i could still be doing this job at 60, which is when the pension will pay out, and then because i joined very late in life it wont be worth anything to me anymore, particularly as the changes come in.

my pay - i lose £250 on petrol each month - it means that if i were to find a full time job up the road that paid minimum wage, i could more or less come out with the same
so weighing it all up, unless something drastically alters, i think i need to find something else.

but what? (dont say security!!).....i used to office based stuff, reception work, admin and spent 10 years as an optical assistant.....i dont want to go back to that though -

what could i do? i have a NVQ level 3 - in policing and sod all makes me sad to think i put so much work in and im feeling very little satisfaction for any of it sad

ive spent the day searching the job centre site and there is nothing permanent, i would look at internal vacancies within the job but everything is based even further away from where i live.

not sure what to do if i go.
im feeling a bit maudlin as im coughing up a lung....but the over riding feeling i get now it that i want to leave, and that scares me.

no idea what next.

WineGless Mon 29-Oct-12 16:59:28

Oh sweetie
We have spoken lots before but have name changed,

You have only got 2-3 years in, I have 18 in and feel much like you at the moment. Life really is too short you know.
The thing you shouldn't forget is that your skills in the police don't immediately translate to a job but you need to think out of the box.
Why don't you ring a few recruitment consultants?

joanofarchitrave Mon 29-Oct-12 17:04:34

I really hoped this wasn't you sad

I'd agree about ringing headhunters. You don't know what's out there until you start asking.

GlaikitFizZombie Mon 29-Oct-12 17:10:53

Cps admin?? Not sure how handy that would be for you, but I know a few ex-cops who work for the procurator fiscal up here. Local council neighbourhoods team?

There are loads of things y could do with your skill set. I know y aren't enjoying your work right now, but what do you/did y enjoy the most?

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 29-Oct-12 17:21:30

yes thats a good idea, i dont want to "waste" what ive got, but.....

work have just phoned. They are so short staffed. They want to know if ill be back next week, i will be, ive booked the remainder of this set of shifts off as annual leave but my name is going to be mud.

i think i have had 4 periods of sickness off, but its 4 more than in any other job.

BustersOfDoom Mon 29-Oct-12 17:27:16

Might sound a bit 'out there' but what about working as a private investigator? Might be worth checking with any companies locally? Or those heir hunter companies? From watching the tv show about them all their local reps were former police officers.

LizzieVereker Mon 29-Oct-12 17:27:46

Oh Vicar, thanks you were one of the first names I began to recognise on here, because you always give such good advice. I'm so sorry that you feel this way, it's clear that you are an excellent Police Officer, and I'm horrified by the pay and conditions you've described. You and all your colleagues deserve way better.

Are you an office/ indoors or more outdoors sort of person? What about something like the RSPCA? Would you have the means or time to retrain for social work? Perhaps not if you've already retrained. I'm sorry these are such pants suggestions, I just wish I had an answer for you, you are clearly a lovely person and deserve happiness, safety and security in your work.

WineGless Mon 29-Oct-12 17:55:23

Just be careful of jumping frying Pan into fire. The CPS are underfunded and certainly morale is low there too although nothing like the cops at the mo.

What do you want? Something close to home or would you travel? You can get work for insurance companies taking statements which isn't very exciting but ok money I think.

scurryfunge Mon 29-Oct-12 18:04:16

Aw, vicar. I agree life is too short. Its not an way job to do if you are so unhappy. Get some help upgrading your cv and start networking. Some jobs are not advertised. Can you afford to study at something else or do a part time qualification but still work for the time being while you gain further qualifications?

wonderstuff Mon 29-Oct-12 18:05:37

We have an ex-cop working at our school as a school-home liaison worker. We employ half a dozen people to work with challenging families, social services, pupil referral units - take on bullying, work out behavioural programmes. Would suit your skill-set and be less pressured. Worth looking at local school/LEA vacancies?

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 29-Oct-12 18:55:40

leaving with nothing else to go to isnt an option so i will have to stick it out for now - maybe study part time is a good idea.

i would travel for the right job, on the right money.

close to home would mean no petrol expense so could take less money.

i might take a gander at what the open university can offer in the way of qualifications.

part of me is finding it difficult to let it go because i know what i went through to get in, all that hoop jumping, and the fitness test nearly killed me.
I keep veering wildly to one moment thinking 'this is alright really, im getting the hang of this now' to 'oh sweet jesus what am i doing'

i just feel ill and i wonder if i am ill because im so stressed. i never thought i would feel so stressed over things i have no real control over, but i am. If i could just learn to relax and stop worrying but i feel constantly under pressure.

i think i joined at the worst possible time ever to do this job.

scurryfunge Mon 29-Oct-12 18:58:12

Can you try a sideways move to another department?

threepiecesuite Mon 29-Oct-12 19:00:50

Like wonderstuff, I was going to suggest a school-based role. I think most secondaries in inner-city areas have them now, we do and ours is a friendly ex-constable. He deals with problem families and home-school liaison issues but most of the kids like and respect him and his day to day workload looks quite manageable.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 29-Oct-12 19:06:57


i was just saying to DH that what i find stressful is having to be a slave to the radio and get my own enquiries done - i find that balancing act a very hard line to tread....

maybe if i just had one, or the other. and there are departments in which that could happen

i really enjoy the investigation side of things and thought about an attachement to volume crime - no radio to worry about - just a crime list.

we are so short staffed. in theory, our acting sgt had asked our inspector to allow me to go for an attachment but ive not seen inspector to speak to, have never breathed a word about how stressed i am but im sure its fairly obvious, am feeling quite a failure and i swear if one more smug twazzock says "id have loved your crime list when i was a probationer" i am going scream.....because A) im not a probationer anymore and
B) when they were probationers they didnt have to worry about the victim code of practice.....i seem to have about 8 crimes on my list to everyone elses 2 for some reason and i get stiffed with any job that the rest dont want to deal with.....
i am too nice. i worry constantly about everything and for two pins i would never go back.

AWomanCalledHorse Mon 29-Oct-12 19:11:56

Vicar, it's a real shit time in the job, and it will get shitter in the next few years, but it should work out ok in the end <hollow laughs>

Are there any control room or back room staff vacancies in your area?
I know you said you don't want to go back to an office, but there really is less stress in back room policing (if you've got a telephone reporting department or missing persons, they're normally quite stress free).
Where you've said no security, are you close to a nuclear site? civil nuclear policing isn't 'really' policing (but you get a gun, yeeee ha & all that).

Is there anything you could do along side policing? Put a business interest in at work & start crafting/cake making or something just to help take the stress away?

If you've done your driving courses you can always do private instructing (there is a company who recruit ex-officers, I can't remember the name atm, annoying)?
Have you got places that recruit police nearby (in some London boroughs they have their own non-Met police officers for example)?

Good luck.

scurryfunge Mon 29-Oct-12 19:15:04

You need to start managing your managers! Get yourself known in other departments and set yourself up for an attachment. Apply for any course you are interested in. Keep raising the issue of your own career development with your management- make time to seek out your Inspector.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 29-Oct-12 19:24:36

i keep chasing attachments but my substantive sgt basically said "no" due to lack of numbers. (things really are that tight)

at that point the acting sgt sought me out and said that he was wrong to say that and he would try and sort it, he said that the organisation is supposed to support you if you see your career going a certain way or you want to do attachments.

but nothing concrete has happened.

we are a group in disarray - sgt after sgt, morale so low its tangible, its just all making me wonder why im doing it for so little job satisfaction.

people keep moaning at me because i want to get enquiries done and yet they have no crimes while i have loads, so who is doing all the bloody work? you would think it was them from the way they moan at me whenever i say i need to get something done.

i have got through the hardest part, through probation, through the qualification, done the driving courses, all good to go........and still feel like shite on a daily basis.

Feckbox Mon 29-Oct-12 19:30:22

so sorry you feel like this vic.
I have no wise words, except to say that I have two friends who left the force for exactly the reasons you describe sad

NightLark Mon 29-Oct-12 19:32:00

RSPCA and ambulance service both have LOTS of ex police. Sorry things are so horrible for you.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 29-Oct-12 19:34:41

oh bollocks im just being a moany old git again. dont show worraliberty this

i get on my own nerves tbh.
but i just wanted to be happy and fulfilled and id say that i am about 30% of the time.....the remaining 70% im a miserable git.
except when im home.
when im home im happy (when im not stressing about going back to work again.)

does it get better?
do you learn to relax a bit as you grow into the job?

can anyone remember or is this just a sign that its not for me?

Viperidae Mon 29-Oct-12 19:39:17

My friend left the police because of stress and moved into social work. Still a stressful and challenging role but less threatening and pressured in her opinion. She is loving it and finds her skillset has translated well.

Feckbox Mon 29-Oct-12 19:40:06

Yes, you can learn to relax a bit as you grow into the job. I'd rather not say my job but it is a recognised stressful profession. I'm in my late 40s and finally learning not to stress about it . I think it is partly because my memory is not that great so I forget how bad it sometimes is when I am not there!!

scurryfunge Mon 29-Oct-12 19:41:01

I think everyone has doubts at some point in their career. It's ok to have doubts but if you can't see light at the end of the tunnel, it is too difficult a job to manage. The risks to your family life and mental health are high. You have to look after yourself.
Can you get help with managing your work load? It sounds simple but do you plan your enquiries and stick to them? Be firm with colleagues- learn to say " no" when you are committed to something else.

starsandunicorns Mon 29-Oct-12 19:41:58

hi have to thought about this thought this may be good []

LaCiccolina Mon 29-Oct-12 20:01:49

So depressing to read. We need good coppers and to hear the RL role, well it's not what us public support u for. U deserve better... Sorry u are not getting it.

I'm not in the job but I work in hr and do deal with stressed/strained staff in public firm. May I offer advice/ questions I ask ours?

Has this feeling happened before? If so why? What altered in that situation to change it and could you see or like ur job again if some thing altered again? U do need to analyse the present feelings a bit...sorry.

If the answer is to leave do u
Want to work within the police force or related work?
What retraining can u do? Eg forensic or moving division (dog handler) - just asking...

Outside, well u have multitudes of strengths that I don't feel u r considering. Organisation, situation handling, difficult people management, attention to detail to name a few more obvious ones. This could lend u to many areas of business. Hr, project management, consultancy.

I can't tell u the amount of successful ex-services/police staff I have worked with in business. If you want to there are many options (including school teacher type too so don't rule that out either!)

I think you could do with a cv consultancy. Head hunters good but I'd go for a firm more used to redundancies and career advice as they will b used to career changing later in life.

Of course u could change direction entirely. Bake, cook, keep horses! Might sound daft but if u really have reached the point of change do it enthusiastically not pessimisticly. Half of its mindset and urs is presently quite 'paint it black' (understandably)

Finally don't discuss at work unless very trusted colleague and do ur utmost to hide/conceal or keep a positive disposition. A black outlook will drag u down further and continuos dark comments from a colleague brings everyone down and upsets bosses. U probably need to hide things for as long as possible.

Good luck hope something helps!!! smile

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