This is the 3rd installment in chronicling my journey into law enforcement. If you would like to read from the beginning, it is best to start with The Foundation.
A few days ago I was telling you all how difficult it has been just waiting around while going through these slow moving police hiring processes. Some recent happenings have taken place in my life, creating a substantial dilemma which has sort of brought me to a crossroads on my pursuit for a law enforcement career. Remember that interview I was telling you about last week? This interview is for a department that I really want to work for...definitely one of my favorite prospects for several reasons. For starters it is a nice sized city at about 38,000 people, with the surrounding area having around 45,000. The department itself has about 65 officers which is pretty good sized. It is much closer to my hometown and my family in comparison to the other prospects. It also presents the best opportunity to get hired.
The chief wants to hire a total of 6 officers. However, they are planning on staggering the hiring so that they do not overwhelm their FTO's. It is unclear how the 6 will be split up but they have funds budgeted to send 4 applicants to a state ran academy that starts next month, so this will be a very speedy process. (what a change!) They are initially going to interview the top 13 applicants. (I am sitting at #12) My interview was scheduled for this Wednesday afternoon. Herein lies the problem.
I normally work nights so I almost never have scheduling conflicts when it comes to tests and interviews. Except for this week! I have to go through this security training for work that has been scheduled since November, and it will run Monday-Friday 0800-1600. It is a mandatory training that all of the officers have to go through. When I took this job I was very honest with them and let them know up front what my career goals were and that I was actively pursuing them and they were more than supportive of this. My boss has always said as long as you are honest I will do my best to work with you.
Since I am a man of integrity, or so I believe at least, I was honest and told my boss the situation that I was in. I told him how important the interview was to me and that was the only day and time that I could interview and that it was smack dab in the middle of Wednesday's training.
"I wasn't sure if I could leave early Wednesday or miss Wednesday completely and attend the Wednesday portion when the next group goes through the training in March." I reasoned.
He replied, "That is quite the dilemma, and unfortunately no you cannot miss any portion of the course because all parts of the training are required and your spot is already paid for and it is a little too late to make any changes to that." "I will let you know."
I said OK and walked out of the office. That was not how I was hoping the conversation would go but at least he was going to look into some options for me. That took place a few days ago and I hadn't gotten any word yet on what was to come of this, until today.
No, I cannot leave early. It is mandatory training and I must be there. Of course I can call off, I planned to anyways, and more than likely will do so. All of the guys at work said I shouldn't have said anything and just called in sick that day. I was determined to take the honest route and in the end I pretty much screwed myself. Now, when I call off they will know that it is because I decided the interview was more important.
Let's play a game of scenarios now. I have never called off before and the policy states that you get 3 unscheduled call offs in a year. This would be the first so normally nothing would happen to me. However, since I am missing a mandatory training I am sure it will end in some disciplinary action. I could be written up, suspended a few days, or I could just be terminated.
Or...since I told him about it he could consider that a previous request for time off. Policy states that if you call off for a time that you previous requested time off for but were denied...this could be considered insubordination and could result in discipline up to and including termination.
I have never been disciplined at work in my life! This has always looked really good in all of my background investigations because all of my employers come back to them with positive feedback. I don't want to burn any bridges with my employer because I need to count on them for a good reference in the future. If I destroy that I am putting all of the other hiring processes that I am in at risk.
However, the opportunity to get hired at the agency I am interviewing for is the best odds I have seen anywhere. Historically, I have been told that I am a good interviewer and I have already spent numerous hours researching this agency and preparing myself for this interview. I am confident in saying that few would ever prepare as much as I do. The odds are promising but still does not guarantee that I land the job.
Do I take a chance on a dream job with a favorite agency based only on good odds and possibly harm relations with a current employer? Or do I throw away the best opportunity I have been given and skip the interview to go to work?