In the past few weeks I have been looking back on my work life. I have had many conversations with family members and friends about how disappointed I am that things have worked out like they did.
For those who care, I am a police dispatcher/911 Operator. I have been in the law enforcement field for 15 years. I still believe that my job is honorable and necessary. I still enjoy the core of my job, helping people. I am not being challenged anymore with my career.
I think about what would make me happy. I have mentioned before working with animals 99.9% of the time would be ideal, but not realistic. Something where I didn't have to answer the phone would be even more ideal. Then I sit back and think about what I am qualified for and I realize I am stuck answering phones forever. You see, the people who answer phones are not the important or well paid ones. Those are the guys who get their calls screened and choose whether to answer the phone or let it go to voicemail.
I have an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. I have been a dispatcher 15 years. I have created policy and procedure. I created the first training manual for Communications Operators at my department. I have trained many people. I am a certified trainer through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE) I have obtained my Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Telecommunicators License through TCLEOSE. I have been a manager/supervisor. I am trainable.
This is what I don't have: a 4 year degree. Money for a 4 year degree. Something marketable so I don't have to answer phones for the rest of my life.
After 15 years of employment I still live on a little over $25,000. Do you cringe when you read that number? I do. I'm not afraid to say it either. I have worked really hard to be a great dispatcher. Why am I not being rewarded for my hard work? I always thought that you get rewarded for working your hardest, being loyal, doing a good job, and having a good work ethic. I was wrong. You don't get rewarded for that stuff. You get more work.
Can I afford to be picky about what I want? I think I can. While I am still employed and still working on my retirement I think I can be. I need something that pays more obviously. I need something that has medical benefits, long term/short term disability, and a good retirement or 401k. I have figured that right now, the job I want doesn't involve working in a call center. It doesn't involve answering phones. It doesn't involve customer service. I understand you can't expect to start at the top of anything, but I have experience. I have been there when it's an emergency. I have saved lives. I have seen lives lost. How many can say they have that experience in their cubicle or office with the mahogany desk?
So, if you know where I might find a mythical job like this let me know. If not, I will be searching for the right one to come along.