A Police Officer or a Teacher? My Journey to Self-Discovery and Happiness

In my previous blogs I’ve mentioned that I am a teacher and I teach at an ESL school. I’ve been teaching there for three and years and I’ve loved it. However, there have been moments that I have had doubts about my career and I’ve wondered if I could do more. As a result I looked into other ways I could help and reach people and a friend of mine mentioned the police force. I never considered it but it seemed exciting so I thought I would pursue it. The pursuit of this alternative career took me on a journey that was both stressful and exhausting but it was only through this journey that I was able to decide what my path is in this world.

So it started about midway through last year. I was having doubts about being a teacher. I was getting sick of the extra workload that came with teaching, the monotonous atmosphere that I found myself trapped in and the lack of excitement. I was searching for something. A change of any sort. My friend had talked about a career change as well and suggested the police force. I thought to myself, ‘I get to help people, it offers variety and it’s exciting, why not?’ So began the journey. Currently I live in New South Wales, Australia and at the time the applications into the New South Wales Police Force were closed. I was stopped in my tracks. I messaged the Police Academy on a regular basis to find out if the applications were going to open soon. I always received a reply saying that ‘we will let everyone know soon, just keep checking our facebook page for updates.’ So I waited. On the 5th of February of this year the applications opened. I was relieved.

I applied for the mandatory online course that all applicants needed in order to apply for the Academy. It was a 12 week course that looked at customer service and a few aspects of the law. Twelve weeks later I passed the course and I started my actual police application. The process started with declarations, uploading academic records, uploading employment history, uploading driver history and uploading residential history. As you can tell it pretty much involved uploading your life! But I was persistent. A few weeks rolled past and I was contacted by a case manager who required me to have my fingerprints done. I  did this, then another two weeks later, I had to do a physical and psychometric test (insanely painful) and then another two weeks later another test and then another two weeks, etc. I conducted two interviews, one of which included my family. The process became embedded in my life. I became anxious as I waited and waited. I then completed the application process, I was invited to apply for the university that supported my study at the academy and then one day later I received an offer to attend the Police Academy. I was stoked.

Now something began to happen. There was a three week gap between receiving my offer for the academy and the start date of my training. It was during this time that I started to reflect. I was still teaching during those weeks and I started to realize a few things. I realized that I still cared about these kids. I cared about how I made them feel. I was still working hard and committing myself to the job. Why I thought? Why do I care? And then I realized I am going to miss this. I looked at my reasons again for applying. The reasons had weakened. As so much time had passed during the process, I had made so many teaching resources that my workload had actually decreased. I had discovered ways to bring the variety to my classroom and my desire to travel more would create the excitement. So why was I joining the force again? To help people? I was already doing that. What was I thinking? I talked about these issues with friends and family. I came to the conclusion that my path laid in teaching.

People have asked me since do I regret ever applying for the Police. Naturally, you would assume yes! It stressed me out, it exhausted me and it cost me close to $3000. But I had no regrets. I had no regrets because I would not have discovered this about myself if I hadn’t undertaken this journey. The question of ‘what if?’ would always be on my mind. By taking this path I was able to look at myself and ask myself who I was. A police officer or a teacher? It was only at the end of this path that I was able to answer this question. The answer brought me happiness.

I guess the lesson I have learnt from my experience is that sometimes we need to take these journeys. Sometimes we need to to trial new things and test ourselves. By stepping outside our comfort zone into uncertainty, our walls are broken down and we finally see ourselves. Self-discovery inspires growth. Growth creates happiness.

I hope you find this helpful!

Damian

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