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05-30-2006, 01:40 #1drs Guest
Starting a career... big decisions, etc.
As some of you might now, I'm currently looking for employment in the DC area... and it's been a stressful month or so since I finished college. Unlike some of my friends who got to move in with their parents and mooch while they figure things out, I'm having to find a job ASAP!
Anyways, my situation is that I'm married and my wife is finishing up getting certified as an x-ray tech but hasn't yet taken the test and doesn't have a full-time job. So for now I've got to be the breadwinner. I graduated a few weeks ago with a degree in Econ, I have experience working IT support and was also an intern at NCISHQ in the fraud division.
I applied at NCIS (took exam, waiting for prescreen), the Arlington County PD, as well as for some IT related jobs. It's looking like I now have to decide between an IT job and working for the ACPD.
Since my eventual goal is to study computer forensics in grad school and work for a fed agency, I suppose either an IT job or working for ACPD would provide relevent experience. ACPD is a great department, I recieved a CO a few weeks ago after passing the panel interview, but still have medical, stress test, psych and poly to complete. They said they are hoping to get me on board in July for an August academy.
The IT job would pay well, has good benefits, and would start immediately. As much as I would like to work for Arlington, I just don't think it would be practical... and I don't really have anywhere I can work for just a month or so and then leave once I am good to go in Arlington. Heck, of course something could come up and my CO might never turn into a real offer.
I guess I just am feeling a bit sad because I was so happy after my panel... the three hour interrogation followed by the excitment of getting the CO and the interviewers saying I had done a good job.
The IT job would be more flexible as far as taking grad courses and whatnot, and is probably the best choice for me and my family. No long haul commute to Ashburn from DC for the academy, at least. *sigh*
Thankfully I suppose I have some friends who tell me, "Dave, you're only 22, if you absolutely hate the IT job you can still pursue a PD job."
Any thoughts? Anyone out there think I'm completely crazy to give up on the ACPD job? If I do need to withdraw from the process, I'd be sure to explain my situation to my BI (who has been great, if anyone is thinking of applying). I'm just feeling a crunch because I want to let them know before I have my psych and medical as I don't want to cost the county a bunch of money if I'm not going to take the job.
Sorry of this is really scattered, I hope that's OK for the stress forum.
05-30-2006, 08:47 #2
Relax. As your friends have noted, lots of time. IT position will start now, allow you to continue education (big plus later if a Fed position still appeals) and let your wife test as an XRay tech. Once she lands a position you can play the tuba for coins outside a Metro stop and still live well. Arlington is a great job but maybe with all the balls you have in the air personally better to not add the stress of a police job right now.
05-30-2006, 10:09 #3
The biggest thing is to do what is best for your family and right this second, it seems as though the IT job is the right choice. LE will always be there and if you decide down the road to pursue it, then you should have no problem as it seems you are having no problem getting through the process right now. Good luck to you.Always check your 6.
05-31-2006, 05:52 #4
I'll second what these folks have said, for the most part. You're young and have plenty of time, no doubt about that. Do what is best for your family--you have a priority to take care of them. However, let me throw in a couple of things to consider, if I may:
Is there a way to make the dollars stretch for the next couple of months so that you CAN take this PD job if it materializes? If not, no worries, but if it's doable, I hate to see somebody put off what they really want to do if there's a solution available. I'm not sure what financial position your parents are in, but maybe they could float you a loan for rent for a couple of months so that you can jump on board with ACPD?
The other thing to keep in mind is the paycheck that comes along with a typical IT-related career. You'll be making good money in IT, no doubt, and with that income, your standard of living will go up, bills, etc--it's just human nature. Will you be able to make the switch to an almost certainly lower paying job a few years from now, after getting accustomed to a higher income? This particularly becomes an issue if children enter the picture. It's much easier to be penniless when it's you and a spouse, than when it's you and a bigger family.
Like I said, I agree with the first two posters for the most part. I just wanted to throw a couple of ideas your way to keep in the back of your mind as you make your decisions."The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." -- Martin Luther King
"Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me."
05-31-2006, 13:31 #5Cadet
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
Well, I am not disagreeing with anything that is said above, but there is an option that hasn't been mentioned and I'm not sure why. Why not take the IT job and continue processing with the PD. Then, if the PD job materializes, make a decision then. You will feed you family in the meantime and then may still get to start your dream career. I can't imagine the PD will think poorly of you (they know you have to eat). And, the other job will have to understand. They may not like it at first, but they have to understand. As someone who worked as a manager/exec. in IT and general admin., I can tell you that it is a fact of life for managers to deal with. People in todays society are mobile, both physically and occupationally. It is a fact of life. Don't lose sleep over it.
I just took a postition (my second year) to teach again next year at a small school (15 total teachers). But, I am just starting to test again and could possibly be in the academy in the fall (14 slots to fill and only 15 testing this weekend; I like those odds!). That would cause me to have to not teach obviously. I don't want to leave them in the lurch, but I can't give up my dream to keep them from having to replace me. Sorry.
Just my two cents.
Last edited by BDDuke; 05-31-2006 at 13:35.
05-31-2006, 15:55 #6
First, is take care of the family, doing whatever will put food on the table.
I know that you are feeling "locked" into the IT field, but you can't tell me that in the DC area there is no temp work in the IT field! Do good work for a temp agency and you will be making contacts, and there are no hard feelings if you have to leave for an academy date. I know that there are not any benefits along with a temp job, but if you get Arlington, then you will be getting the benefits soon anyway. If the cop job doesn't happen, you have still been making contacts in the IT field that you might not have before.
Good luck!A society that makes war against its police had better learn to make friends with criminals. - unknown
06-02-2006, 01:17 #7drs Guest
Well all thank you for the comments, I appreciate it. After talking it over with my wife, I decided to accept the IT job and I withdrew my application from ACPD. I'm still in the process with NCIS, and well, who knows what will happen with that.
One major consideration was that with the cost of living in the DC area, my wife and I aren't sure we're going to stay here. I have family in Chicago and she has roots elsewhere also, so taking the IT job will give us a bit more flexibility.
The other concern, which was mentioned by a few people here, is the stress that comes with starting a job with the PD. I think I had underestimated this as I went through the process, and now that I put more thought into it... I'm not sure I'd like to add the stress of 1) a long commute to the academy, plus 2) starting the job when we're just getting started with our family (no kids, not planning on that for a while, but it could still put a strain on the marriage).
My BI at Arlington was sorry to see me leave the process now, but if I ever decided to re-apply in the future when I'm a bit more settled, I'm sure I wouldn't have any problems as long as they were hiring.
So we'll see, I won't be getting into an LE career right now, but like many people have told me, I'm only 22--I have still have time to figure things out.
Thanks all for your comments and advice. Definitely part of me is a little bummed, but at least I'll be able to save some money from the IT job so I can pursue a graduate degree.