I've previously written about my own transition from policing to the private sector and now running Mightify. However, there's more than one way to skin a career change cat, so I've asked others to share their success stories too - for honest and practical tips, inspiration and to prove that it can be done!
First up is Dan, an ex-Met officer now working for an investment bank and as you can see in the picture, enjoying the odd holiday too.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions below the article - and if you have a success story to share, get in touch!
When did you decide to leave, and why? I decided in early 2013 after Christmas/NYE. I couldn't get a lot of time off, which was frustrating and I missed a lot of social events due to last minute shift changes/annual leave refusal. I saw a lot of my friends forming social circles with regular events that I would miss due to shifts. The earning potential of my friendship group was also increasing significantly and I saw the potential in the police for promotion fairly limiting, from both a financial and opportunity viewpoint.
I wanted a Monday-Friday job with the potential to earn more money and was willing to forego a job I loved to achieve this, which in turn has assisted greatly with a more stable family life. I also developed a warped view of the world/London from my experiences, thinking most people were bad or up to no good.
What are you doing now? I work as a specialist within Anti Money Laundering in Correspondent Banking. I currently work for a US investment bank based in London with the view to either climbing through management or trying my hand in front office as a fully fledged investment banker. I have taken a number of exams since leaving the police, both in banking and in insurance after a 2 year stint as a chartered insurance broker prior to working in banking
What had you been doing in the police? 2 years on a London borough - response team and Safer Neighbourhoods. 3 years on the Territorial Support Group. I was also an AFO so manned up Diplomatic Protection Group a lot for paid overtime. I was in the process of applying to CO19 prior to leaving the police. I was also preparing for leaving.
How did you find another job? I had a long hard think about what I wanted to do and what skills I had that were transferable. Communication skills is a big one which meant I was pointed towards sales. I'd done sales previously and was successful. I met a number of recruiters, many of whom would try to shoehorn you into anything they could to get commission.
I found a company selling insurance broking and software that I liked the sound of so interviewed with them (3 stages of interviewing) and got an offer. I had cold feet so I turned it down. I had a number of other offers across the financial services sector but again backed out. After a month or two in the police I was intent on leaving (breaking point was standing in the pouring rain/freezing cold, having a megaphone blasted in my face by protestors). I rang the company who had offered me the job, explained and they honoured their offer.
What do you miss? What don't you miss? Miss being around solid mates all day, having a laugh, training (TSG specific) and generally doing something cool/interesting most days. The pension. Also miss the free travel. Don't miss the hours (last minute shift changes, cancelled rest days and being unable to guarantee what time I am finishing.), the politics (public scrutiny), the days where we got paid OT and didn't really do much - being on AID is actually one of the easiest things ever... and they feed you. Low morale - "job's FFF'd" ... it's really not that bad!!!
What advice would you give others? Be 100000% sure that you want to leave and try to have an idea of what you want to do, even if it's eventually and you need to graft a few years to get there. I always wanted to work in banking but couldn't get in direct so had to graft in financial services to get experience - I also did some pretty decent fun jobs and made a lot of friends along the way. Don't think that just because there's low morale and negativity that the job is really that bad...it's not. It's a good job to have and if you can hack the hours then it's a great job! Grass isn't always greener on the other side. Once you commit, fully commit and give it your best shot. It's easy to go back to the police and there will be times you regret leaving, just work hard to get where you want and get as much as experience in everything you can. Saying 'Yes' and going for a beer after work with absolutely anyone can go a long way, I've got to where I am through networking - it's easier to get where you want when you know someone there who will back you!