Losing My Identity
Who Am I?
Am I the uniform I wear?
When people refer to me, do they describe me as “you know the cop who lives at...”?
Have I been in the job so long that I have taken on the identity of the job role and lost the person that is “me”?
After 29 years I found it hard to even consider a role outside of the insular world of Policing. Like other similar job roles, the hours are different, the demands are different and the people are different. It’s a strange world because virtually every part of your life has to follow a strict code. Who you associate with or even what you do socially? Nothing can bring the service into disrepute or leave you vulnerable and open to criticism or coercion.
But what happens when the time to leave comes as it surely will? Whether it’s your retirement date or quite simply you have given all you can and have nothing left to give.
Nothing about the service prepares you for life out in the “real world”. Over the years you change, not necessarily realising it. You learn to conform to the demands of the job and at some point, I fear, your true identity is put up on a shelf to gather dust, I know mine was. It’s kind of inevitable.
The number of times I thought about leaving before I actually took the plunge is ridiculous.
So, you may ask,
”If you wanted to leave so much why didn’t you?”
The fact is I was scared; I didn’t know how to not be a cop anymore. The questions that incessantly whirred around in my head consisted of:
“What else can I do?”
“Who would want me I only know how to be a cop?”
“What could I possibly offer an employer?”
“How can I possibly take on a different role? What skills do I have that they would want?”
These questions were totally self-defeating, and so I carried on regardless of the personal cost.
But, in actual fact, there are lots of business opportunities and employers who welcome the values, strengths and transferable skills that you have gained over many years serving your communities.
Its about taking the time, and a helping hand if need be, to explore your core values. Those things that drive everything that you do. The things that give you that “job well done” feeling, that get you through a never-ending night shift when you are dog tired.
I bet if I asked each and everyone of you, “why did you want to join the police/ambulance/fire service?” it was because you wanted to help people. Pure and simple.
That is your first step to re-gaining your true identity.