Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Nine Years

I've always been a little reluctant to talk about 'The Day Job' because I never wanted this blog and my writing to be about that. I like using the blog and what I write as an outlet and as something to feed my soul and my passion for writing a little bit. I've let 'The Day Job' really eat large chunks of my life at various points over the past nine years and it's taken me a long time to figure out how to fully leave work at work and focus on the rest of my amazing life when I'm not at work.

But it has been weighing on me a little bit: this is year nine. I think after nine years, it's probably time to lean into 'The Day Job' a little bit and own it more than I have. Over the years, I think I've put a lot of pressure on myself to 'do more' and 'figure out the next thing' and 'the next big career move' but the more I think about it lately, the less I feel that impetus to figure out what's next and move along. I have an awesome job. There are peaks and there are valleys, like with everything in life, but of late, I have few complaints. Every day- and I do mean every day- is different. I don't know what's going to happen when the phone rings. (Though, at this point, sometimes I can make a fairly educated guess.) 

Over the years I've helped develop a multi-channel social media presence for our department. I've been afforded opportunities to attend training on multiple topics ranging from radiological alarms to Spanish for 911. I help coordinate and run the Departmental Awards Program. I data drag every month and keep various crime maps updated. When I feel like I've run out of opportunities to grow in this job, new ones always seem to spring up where I least expect them and it's really hard to complain about that.

I could be riding a cubicle somewhere. Or teaching. Or grinding out a Ph.D. Or doing anything else, but honestly, I can't think of any other job that would keep me as engaged and interested on a daily basis as this one. And, as a bonus, I get to help people every single day. Some times their problems are fairly mundane. Sometimes they really are having the worst day of their lives. But every day when I sit down behind the console and log into my CAD, I'm always thinking at the back of my mind about how I can do my job better today. 

The world of 911 Dispatching is bigger than people probably realize. There are individual agencies of all sizes you can find. There are Joint Centers that range from the medium-sized counties to big cities. My little corner of that world may not have the Domestics or the vehicle pursuits or the shootings or the exciting stuff you see on Live PD or COPS, but it's never boring and it'll surprise you from time to time- sometimes in good ways, sometimes in weird ways and sometimes in bad ways.

Nine years. It's National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week this week. I've seen nine of them come and go. But it's time to stop pretending that this is a stepping stone to something else. Without realizing it, I've found a career. I found my little corner and my perfect tribe. I don't know if I'd call it the greatest job in the world, but it's pretty damn good and I am fortunate indeed to have stumbled into it, seemingly the same way I always stumble into these things.

Not every 911 Dispatcher out there is fortunate enough to be appreciated the way we have been this week. It's simple enough to buy some food and say 'Thank You' once a year, but not everyone has great managers. Not everyone has a work environment that has good morale. To those fellow 911 Dispatchers, I see you. If no one else has said it, let me say it: Thank You. You're awesome at what you do, even if no one else wants to tell you that.

Nine years. I've never not been proud to be part of The Thin Gold Line, but it's time I start saying so out loud a little more.  I am a 911 Dispatcher and if you call me, I'm here to help.

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