We talk a lot about what it takes to become a Police Officer.
The programs we have in place, The Arena and its offerings, gaining experience and the importance of connection.
Its fairly common knowledge that this is a career you go in whole heartedly.
Knowing full well in advance the risks as well as the rewards.
Aware of the potential for long hours and missed family events.
By now, none of this should be a surprise.
And while all of these things are important from a personal perspective, often what gets left out is how your significant other or family may view the change and more importantly, what to expect.
Having a life time of experience of being directly on the other side of this career – I personally am no stranger to what its like living with someone who works in Policing.
While there is certainly an adjustment period that comes along with this, I would like to highlight some important things to keep in mind as you potentially step down this path with your partner or family member.
Firstly – Shift work.
This can seem daunting and honestly – it is.
Its hard on the person doing it, but its also hard on other members of the household.
You’re adjusting your lives, attitudes, and volume levels to prioritize the person working odd hours.
Your sleep can be just as interrupted as theirs by someone entering or leaving at an unusual time.
Household activities are typically muted or held back to respect the person sleeping.
Even meal times can shift to better accommodate the vast majority if and when possible.
Everyone plays a part in the time shift adjustment while the one obviously working it, bares the brunt of the effects.
If you’re used to spending quiet nights as a couple unwinding, you may find yourself making the adjustment to spending this time solo.
In a marriage and transitioning to this schedule – the first few rounds are hardest.
However you do adapt and even learn that having this ‘you’ time is enjoyable too.
In fact there may be moments where you actually look forward to those evenings of peace.
By no means does it replace time spent with others, or the fact you’ll miss them, but it can be a solid consolation prize once you resign yourself to this aspect of the job.
Next – missed holidays and special occasions.
Quickly you’ll learn that special events can in fact be celebrated on any day.
Early. Late. There is actually no law that states you can’t celebrate an anniversary, a birthday, or even Christmas, on a different day than what the calendar states.
This gets trickier with kids but you soon find that children are resilient, and they too can be fairly understanding as long as you make some attempt to be up front and reason with them.
In fact, I think as a child growing up with this background, its made me incredibly thankful for the moments we can celebrate on the actual day – but at the same time, its made me very flexible and adaptable to change.
Probably the most major aspect of adapting into this lifestyle is the worry.
The worry never goes away.
It occasionally mutes, and sometimes you even forget it exists when you get caught up in the day to day.
But it never goes away.
Just like a mother worries about her newborn baby, her child, even her adult son or daughter.
There is always something to worry about.
But the worry is a bit different when you know your partner is about to set out for work in a job that comes with apparent risk.
The only thing you can do is know that they are trained for this.
They are given everything to protect them as much as possible.
But sometimes as we are all too well aware, it isn’t enough.
The various outcomes that are associated with events in this field of work that typically induce trauma – can definitely vary based on the outcome.
Know that being open and having good lines of communication are important.
Never be afraid to talk. They have good resources for both workers and families to resort too if needed. And don’t hesitate to use them.
The longer you wait, the harder it can be to work through.
Hiding things isn’t good for anyone.
This line of work isn’t for everyone, and being married to it or related to it also comes with some heavy responsibility and commitment.
But it is incredibly rewarding – on both sides.
The pride you’ll feel, the love you’ll share, and the things you’ll learn will help build you up and make you stronger and better than ever.
Its not the life for everyone, but its a good life for those that walk the line.
Guest Blogger Rayna Davies
Rayna is the Office Manager at Sentinel Security, as well as the main blog contributor.
With foundations firmly routed in Business administration, Customer Service, and Management, she brings years of experience to her roles both within the Sentinel office, and the blog.
Having grown up with a father who has developed an expertise in Physical Security and Executive Protection in the RCMP and two major corporations, she has personally observed and experienced many security details. These experiences have included personally meeting HM Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Jean Chretien and many celebrities.
Her passions include spending time with her husband and two young children, world travel, reading, writing, and pushing herself to always look for the silver lining.