Evidence 101

EVIDENCE 101...Wherever you go, there you are...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

How To Combat The Smoke From Burnout

When I was a kid the only burnout I knew was involving really cool drivers or really cool cars. It never even dawned on me this would be a topic of discussion when I was a cop. I don't know if I truly experienced the full on cop burnout in any point in my career. There were times I was exhausted or I felt defeated mentally and physically, but I didn't let the job or the administration issues defeat me.

Sure, I heard about it or saw it in other officers and surely we were all exposed to the poisoned few who were beyond repair. Every officer has been disgruntled a time or two. I spoke out many times when I felt an injustice or they enforced what I thought was an unfair policy or ridiculous assignment. Sometimes I got in trouble. But, I spoke my mind and made myself feel better. Other times, we were told to shut thy mouth unless we had a better solution or just shut up and eat it. It's the way you have to deal with Type A personalities with badges.

I watched the downtrodden mostly. I didn't want to join in those reindeer games and I didn't feel that much dread where I didn't want to come to work. I enjoyed them as people and they were good cops. They were just extremely negative and couldn't regain that vigor for their career that we all started with in the beginning or found somewhere in the middle. So what caused this change?

Most often it was an administrative person or function. Even though the public is watchful and demanding, all cops are used to dealing with those tugs and pulls. You just don't expect to be sandblasted by one of your own. Officers who feel they are treated unfairly or unjust will develop bitterness and lose sight of the ball.

The administrators are in a no win situation. Often they were our peers who received a promotion and then suddenly they were THE MAN. Many admins lose their friends who can't separate the job from the person and there are those admins who can't do that within themselves. And then there are those who just suck balls and never should be promoted. I worked for some of those as well.

If you have great leaders, your organization can gain great lengths in serving their community. With division, you have poor management and ineffective results.

Most all officers expect fairness. They might not agree or like a policy or change, but they expect the system to be fair. It's a minor request, but it is often clouded by individual experiences. One sure fire way to lose your troops is to talk out both sides of your mouth. Cops like leaders to be straight up and confront issues head on and then stand by their word. Good or bad.

Honesty, integrity, and fairness go a long way in developing leadership within an organization. All other methods omitting these three factors will fail. There is no room for glory hounds or those who are in it for the individual triumphs and satisfactions. It's a team sport.

There may come a time when individuals lose their zest for police work. For the sake of the game, let's call the ones who piss you off- Voldemort, whomever they are.

That is the time to reconsider the alternatives. Maybe you wold be better suited as Peter Pan or a Walmart greeter. You could always go into security or help Dorothy find Toto.

You can also fight burnout by looking into the following:

1. Hexing all the bozos who piss you off.
2. Waving fairy dust around your g-ride each start of shift.
3. Drinking more coffee laced with chocolate sprinkles.
4. Playing harder than you work when you are off duty.
5. Surrounding yourself with positive people.
6. Farting in the Voldemort's chair when he or she is absent.
7. Engaging in hobbies and physical fitness so you can be more artsy fartsy and tougher than your admins.
8. Perfecting your hair flip and using it when you pass those upstairs.
9. Getting more tattoos and pushing the uniform line.
10. Humming "Don't Stand So Close To Me" in briefing.
11. Submitting a proposal for community policing ideas based upon What Would Jesus Do?
12. Placing a can of open tuna under the driver's seat of Voldemort's squad car wearing Latex gloves of course.
13. Coming to work with a poker face and scare the shit out of your coworkers by remaining silent and stern.
14. Handing out the a-hole's business cards in the red light district.
15. Hair of the dog.
16. High fiving their face with a chair in your mind.
17. Fake smiling to injure the soul of Voldemort and penetrate his or her evil with your own happiness, whether fake or real.
18. Reawakening the dead.
19. Coming into briefing as a flaming happy ass every day with a super cool coffee mug.
20. Signing all your citations with hearts after your name.
21. Skipping to your patrol car after briefing is dismissed.

Or you could just become a rock star cop and fuck all of them by letting things roll off your back.

You can't change others, but you can change those things you control: your attitude, your performance, your appearance.

I still like the tuna can idea. P. to the U.


Cheryl said...

Hahahaha...you have given a lot of thought to ways to fighting burnout.
Very inventive list at that.

I have never been in law enforcement so I can't even imagine how negative a person could feel when they see injustice, dealing with people that think laws are suggestions that don't apply to them, or seeing the shrapnel of domestic violence. I would be depressed after the first week. Then if you add the corporate bullshit that goes with the bureaucratic ranking that is inherent to all jobs, that might just be too much.

I did work in the 911 dispatch arena for a couple of years in my youth and remember thinking that there were an excessive amount of idiots that require attention by the police. Again, I wouldn't blame police for their burnout. I would hope, however, that when they have had enough, they have the intelligence to move on. When a cubicle worker bee gets jades...no big deal...but when a policeman gets jades it could end badly.

Cheryl said...

Just noticed the typos...Not jades..When they get "jaded" was my point.

Bob G. said...

Momma Fargo:
Excellent post.
I'm glad you placed the blame for the loss of "desire" (on the job) to the SUITS (yeah, those EMPTY ones)!
And you called that one RIGHT down the pike perfectly.

ROFL...love a lot of items on your "list", too.
11) My community-policing solution would be more like:
16) Why do that "in my mind"?
20) Maybe not HEARTS...but DEFINITELY "smiley-faces"...heh.

Again, very well said, Kiddo.
Roll safe down there, dear.

Momma Fargo said...

Cheryl...greatness you write and you are so right about all your points. I think cops lose sight of the danger they present when they are not fit for duty either mentally or physically.

Momma Fargo said...

Bob ...I can see you erasing "in your mind" lol. Stop it. Smiley faces are also good