FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).
November 2018 (3)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (3)
August 2018 (6)
July 2018 (4)
June 2018 (3)
April 2018 (1)
March 2018 (2)
January 2018 (1)
September 2017 (1)
August 2017 (1)
May 2017 (1)
April 2017 (1)
January 2017 (1)
November 2016 (1)
September 2016 (1)
June 2016 (2)
May 2016 (3)
April 2016 (2)
March 2016 (1)
February 2016 (3)
January 2016 (1)
December 2015 (1)
November 2015 (5)
October 2015 (1)
September 2015 (3)
August 2015 (3)
July 2015 (6)
June 2015 (3)
May 2015 (2)
April 2015 (3)
March 2015 (5)
February 2015 (1)
January 2015 (1)
December 2014 (9)
October 2014 (2)
September 2014 (2)
August 2014 (2)
July 2014 (1)
June 2014 (2)
May 2014 (2)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (2)
February 2014 (3)
January 2014 (3)
December 2013 (2)
November 2013 (2)
October 2013 (3)
September 2013 (5)
August 2013 (3)
July 2013 (3)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (5)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (3)
December 2012 (5)
November 2012 (2)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (3)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (6)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (3)
January 2012 (5)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (3)
October 2011 (3)
September 2011 (3)
August 2011 (2)
July 2011 (2)
June 2011 (3)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (3)
March 2011 (5)
February 2011 (3)
January 2011 (3)
December 2010 (2)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (4)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (3)
March 2010 (3)
February 2010 (1)
January 2010 (3)
December 2009 (4)
November 2009 (4)
October 2009 (2)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (4)
July 2009 (5)
June 2009 (3)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (3)
January 2009 (2)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (3)
October 2008 (3)
September 2008 (3)
August 2008 (2)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (5)
March 2008 (4)
February 2008 (5)
January 2008 (3)
December 2007 (2)
November 2007 (5)
October 2007 (4)
September 2007 (4)
August 2007 (5)
July 2007 (4)
June 2007 (4)
May 2007 (5)

Greener Pastures

The adage about being careful what you wish for is especially true when it comes to your career.

January 22, 2008  |  by - Also by this author

OK, so I've been put out to pasture, without so much as the favor of pulling stud service. No regrets, though. I left the department on a high note, and am appreciative for the opportunity to have done so.

But I haven't forgotten about some of the men and women I worked with. Some who I had earmarked for going on to bigger and better things are on their upward paths—and deservedly so.

Others aren't. In some cases, they've been screwed, victims of fate, circumstance, and the political machinery that dictates who gets what. In some cases, they've just grown disenchanted with the whole deal, and are content to ride out their careers with as little fanfare or aggravation as possible.

But there are others who are still doing the Lord's work and their fellow officers', too. I spoke with one the other day.

I've known Joe from well before he was a cop, from when he went on civilian ridealongs with me. That was more than 20 years ago. Having since gone on to become a deputy sheriff for most of the intervening time, he observed that many people think he should have promoted or transferred to a choice assignment some time ago. With 2,500 arrests under his belt, he's more than paid his dues.

Yet Joe still continues to be a good aggressive street cop, sometimes putting in 70 hours a week. I'd hate to think how many hours it would take for a less qualified individual who did half as much work.

Throughout, he's known the score. He knew who was more likely to gravitate where and how. But being more diplomatic than me—and a helluva lot less bitter—Joe refuses to use words like "sycophant" or "leg-humper" when referencing some of the more politically aspirant. Nope, Joe just figures people have different strengths and interests, and gravitate accordingly.

The fact is that he has no interest in promoting or transferring elsewhere.

"I've found my calling," he told me. "Do you know how fortunate that makes me feel? And I'm not even close to wanting to quit."

Hearing what he said, I felt a pang of envy. For what he said made sense—so much so that I performed the latest in a series of post mortems on my own law enforcement career.

While I did not regret my retirement, I did resent some of the factors that precipitated it.

Usually, it involved disappointment. At a macrocosmic scale, it was no different than what others experience, regardless of the vocation. Nepotism (there was no shortage of horror stories…the daughter of a former department head being given the answers to a sergeant's exam, the discovery of which negated the entire process…the aggressively hetero son of another executive being shuttled between various assignments to insulate him from the inevitable sexual harassment complaints…), cronyism ("You're in the boat, or you're not" was a popular refrain), every possible permutation of discrimination, favoritism, etc.

But while my otherwise unique disappointments might have been shared with or similarly experienced by others, I noticed that much of it had to do with the sometimes unrealistic expectations that I brought to the table.

Sometimes, it was the nature of the work or with whom I worked. Often, I thought that somebody who I got along well with away from the job would work well with me, too (big mistake). Or the assignments that I anticipated would allow me to effect change were, in fact, entrenched in a static protectionism.

In looking back, I have the advantage of hindsight, some maturity, and greater objectivity. I recognize now that the more I wanted something, the more disappointed I tended to be when I got it.

Conversely, some of the things I'd ducked, skirted, dreaded, and cursed, but nonetheless found myself saddled with turned out to be blessings in disguise, possessing virtues so well concealed that they were worthy of award recognition for best camouflage.

I wonder, too, about those who have also gotten what they wanted, working hard in their own way to get it.

But there are always those who abide by what they know in their hearts and minds to be true, while others press on in embodied denial. I've observed this in transfers to coveted positions, promotions, and inter-agency laterals. They return to where they came from, occasionally demoting of their own volition along the way.

Sometimes, I think that officers should be offered greater exposure to what they yearn for. An opportunity to get a realistic appraisal of what they're in for without being so vested that they're committed for the long haul to the detriment of everyone involved. Hell, it might've saved me 25 years on the job (just kidding).

Joe doesn't need to taste it, to sample something exotic to determine if it suits his palate. He knows what he's destined to do, and does it, and will continue plugging away. No greener pastures for him. Let others pursue the ivory towers and crash the glass ceilings. He's staying put right where he is.

You see, I think Joe knows something a good many people don't know when it comes to greener pastures: Sometimes it's nothing more than the fertilizer at work.

Comments (1)

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

coxgregg @ 1/25/2008 5:31 PM

We can all yearn to be so lucky.

Join the Discussion

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Blog Posts

Recharging Your Batteries: The Benefits of "Unplugging"
There is certainly benefit to being current on events involving the people you consider...
Speaking on the Unspeakable: Ending the Pandemic of Police Officer Suicide
I've talked with officers who have lost a colleague to suicide—as well as many widows of...

Police Magazine