****UPDATE**** September 6, 2017
Every since publishing this post I have received an overwhelming amount of questions, comments and support from readers. I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to read this post and for all the love! As much as I know policing wasn’t for me, I want to commend all those who do the job (especially all those moms out there). It’s a tough but rewarding career and I want to send out a big thank you to all the selfless and dedicated officers out there who keeps our communities safe. I love y’all and keep doing what you do best!
If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
What would you do to get that job?
How long would you keep trying before you quit?
For me…my dream was to become a police officer.
I did anything and everything that would help me in pursing my passion, and I tried and tried for approximately 6 years.
I knew I wanted to be a police officer my whole life, I needed to be one!
Since the age of around 15 it was the only job I ever wanted, and that feeling never went away as I got older.
After finishing high school I went on to take 2 years of Law and Security, followed by a year of Police Foundations.
I was done college by the age of 21. Now what? I thought to myself.
I started by applying to just about every service that was hiring.
I made numerous trips of up to 1400km for multiple interviews (round trip). I also gained experience by volunteering and working tons of jobs that would get me closer to my goal.
I worked as a marine student for the Ontario Provincial Police, at the local courthouse, and as a security guard at General Dynamics (they make military tanks).
I also stopped and picked the brain of any police officer that came within a 10 meter radius of me.
I would have done anything to help me secure that job.
With multiple interviews and testing under my belt, it was so disheartening to hear “I’m sorry, come back when you have more life experience” over and over.
Other than get older, I didn’t know what I should be doing to gain more life experience.
But I was determined and hungry for that job. After all, I had no backup, I WAS going to become a police officer no matter what.
Then it happened one day.
After numerous interviews, my hard work and dedication paid off.
In July 2013, I got the call that I had been hired by York Regional Police as a Police Constable!
(Shaking hands with the chief of police at my swearing in ceremony)
I can’t even put into words my level of excitement that day. I couldn’t call my mom quick enough to tell her the news. I was 23 and my big girl life was officially going to begin.
I showed up weeks later for my first day of training at police headquarters. Overwhelmed and nervous, but excited to meet the other members of my class.
We completed weeks of training before heading off to the Ontario Police College for an additional 3 months of intense training.
The first few months were a blur, but I kept on trucking. It was major information overload with so many laws and stats to remember. I can’t say I was having the time of my life while at the police college, but I knew this was a step I had to complete before I got out there to fight crime like a boss!
3 quick months later, graduation day came at the police college. I marched across that stage with major pep in my step.
I had made it.
There were numerous times I thought I would fail along the way and not make it to this day. But I did!
Now onto the good stuff. The part where I’d be having the time of my life…or so I thought…
It was a snowy January morning in 2013 when I showed up for my first day of work after training…gun on hip, shirt pressed, boots shone and eager to meet my new platoon.
I met my training officer (not Darren, I had 2 training officers during my probation period) and we were off.
(lookin’ for speeders!)
It was so surreal that I was finally here. Driving a real cruiser and going to real calls. I was in charge!
I vividly remember the first call I went to once I had finished probation – an assault in progress. I was scared shitless (pardon my language).
I remember thinking…
What the heck am I going to do if I’m the first one there?
Do I even know how to get there?
How do I turn these darn sirens on?
There was so much adrenaline running through my body on the way to that call. (thankfully things had settled down before I arrived).
I did what I needed to do and got the job done, shift after shift. But by the time my days off rolled around I was happy to have some time to unwind.
For me, I just couldn’t wait to have some time off…but my classmates always talked about how ecstatic they were to get back to work! (I never quite understood that).
I remember thinking to myself, maybe the day will come yet…the day where I’ll start to absolutely love the job like everyone else seems to.
But that day never came for me.
I eventually began to dread having to go back to work after my days off. And I had only been on the job a few months at this point.
I didn’t understand why I felt this way.
After all, I put my heart and soul into getting where I was.
How could I not love being a police officer?
It’s a dream job for so many people out there…and I wasn’t lovin’ it.
I felt like something was wrong with me.
Like I was broken.
But the months and years went on and my love/hate for the job remained the same.
Don’t get me wrong I didn’t slack or not get the job done. I just wasn’t excited and pumped to go to work.
I couldn’t tell you what it was about being a police officer in the first place that excited me, it just did. Perhaps it was the idea of a fast paced environment, knowing that no two days would be the same, or that each call came with a level of uncertainty (and of course helping my community).
But when I was finally out there doing what I always dreamed of doing, it just wasn’t what I expected. I don’t even know what I expected!
I guess now that I think back, all I really knew about policing was what I read in books and saw in movies and TV shows. I didn’t really know the inner workings of what police officer’s did on a day to day basis.
It’s hard for me to put into words what I didn’t like about it. I just began to think that maybe it wasn’t for me. The night shifts took a toll, constantly going from call to call… and some days I worked 12 hours straight without a break.
I’ve heard stories of students finishing med school and entering their residency, only to find that they didn’t like the profession they had chosen. All those years of med school. All the studying and training. For nothing.
How do you really know if you’ll like something until you try it?
But it was fine that I wasn’t loving my new career choice, right?!
I struggled with this for a long time. Concerned what my co-workers and supervisors would think (and especially my family). They saw how much hard work, sweat and tears (literally) I put into getting where I was. I didn’t want them to be disappointed in me and think I was quitting too soon. Or that I was giving up a good thing.
I kept going for years hoping that one day it would all be different for me and I would suddenly love everything. Like it would just click for me one day.
Through all of this, Darren and I had met and become very close. He was supportive from the beginning. And he knew I wasn’t happy in the job. To be completely honest, without having him by my side through this entire journey, I don’t know if I would have lasted as long as I did.
One day he finally told me I needed to do what was best for me. He said that everyone else would understand, if not right away…eventually. If I wasn’t happy doing this job after only a few years, how was I ever going to last 30 years?
Everything he told me couldn’t be more true. Did I really want to stay in a job strictly because I was concerned what others would think? How in the world would I last 30 years being unhappy?
2.5 years in and Darren and I were married and I was pregnant with Grayson (Somehow the time flew by). It couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time. It was almost like it was a sign from God that I was meant to be a mama. I knew that this would be the time I’d say goodbye to policing and move on to the next chapter in my life.
I finally made the decision to leave policing and not return after my maternity leave. The thought of going back to shift work with a little baby after 1 year (the length of maternity leave) wasn’t something I could do. I knew that before I even had Grayson. I never second guessed my choice to leave and to this day I know it was the right one.
After the year was up, we picked up our lives and moved back to my hometown to be closer to my family.
Looking back now, I realize that there was nothing I could have done differently to make myself love being a police officer. I guess I just had to go through this experience to learn that it wasn’t what I was meant to do. And I’m fine with that.
I don’t look back and think – ugh I wasted the last 9 years of my life (between school, applying and serving as an officer). I look back and think…I’m so grateful for the journey that brought me to where I am today. If I was never hired by York Regional Police, I likely would never have met Darren. So that in itself makes the whole process worth it.
To anyone out there who is or was in my shoes, just know you can get through it. It may seem impossible at times, but trust that God (or the universe, or whatever you believe) has a plan for your life and will help guide you along the way.
If you feel as though your ‘stuck’ and don’t know how you’re going to get out, continue to pray and believe and you will find your answers.
Yes, I closed a very important chapter in my life. But I learned so much about myself that I never would have known without policing. I’ve now opened a new chapter in my life with a whole new purpose and meaning.
And my new boss is the bomb!
He is the cutest little man with the biggest blue eyes!
He lights up my life and I am so blessed to be his mama.
Thanks for reading! Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a story to tell!