This week's installment of the Mightify Success Story is from Jerrod Hardy - you can find him on LinkedIn here, or listen to his weekly podcast, The on Purpose Podcast.
When did you decide to leave, and why?
Shortly after entering the police force, I made up my mind that I wanted to do 20 years and retire, move onto other pursuits. I had seen way too many of my colleagues stay past that mark and become shells of their former selves. They were not happy at work, did not enjoy the company they were keeping and I did not want that to become me.
What are you doing now?
I “retired” after 21 years of service in December 2018. I currently own a mixed martial arts gym, Trials MMA, a consulting business, Team Hardy in which I provide law enforcement skill training as well as leadership development. I have a successful and humbling podcast, The On Purpose Podcast, a weekly vlog and am putting the finishing touches on my first book!
What had you been doing in the police?
For the last 6 years of my career, I was the coordinator for our recruit academy. I was responsible for all their initial training and career development.
How did you find another job?
I created them! I wanted more independence, more ownership of the process and outcomes. I took the things I loved doing as a police officer, training, coaching, speaking and turned them into my profession.
What do you miss?
I miss being around that high quality of people every day. I miss randomly walking into a co-worker at the water fountain or in the gym and catching up with them. I miss the connection to the people!
What don't you miss?
I don’t miss the negativity, hate and the job itself. I do not miss the actual work, I made the right decision in the timing of my retirement.
What advice would you give others?
Follow my example: identify the aspects of the job you really enjoy and then strategise how you can make money doing those things in the private world. For example, if you love investigating fraud cases, banks need your expertise. If you love investigating car crashes, insurance companies pay premium money for this and there are so many other examples out there.
Do not allow yourself to fall into the easy trap of thinking, “I am only a police officer” or “I don’t have any other skills”. That is complete bullshit and the easy way out.
Take care of yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally, and have an exit plan in place before you know exactly when you want to leave. I had started my consulting business using my vacation days about 5 years prior to retiring and started the gym 3 years ahead of that. Knowing how I would be spending my time, made the transition much easier than going cold turkey.
Leaving all we have known and the comforts that come with it is difficult and has its ups and downs. However, there can be a great life waiting for you after the badge!