It's been an insane roller coaster of a couple years. There are so many places I made the wrong call that it's astonishing. The past couple days have just cemented that I need to take a day or two and do absolutely nothing but completely re-evaluate my life.
10 years ago, I was 17 and deciding what I wanted to do with my life. I was leaning heavily towards going into forensics. My father knew the local police chief and got me a ridealong, reasoning that there were no crime labs nearby, but I could see the other side of things. I wasn't really enthusiastic about it, until I worked that 0700-1500 shift in Stamford CT. I fell in love with every aspect of what we did. I decided that day that I wanted to become a police officer. I changed everything about myself to reach that goal...my attitude, all of it. In 2009, I joined the Army as a stepping stone to reach that goal. To learn skills I could translate over and to be a part of something greater. Testing in my area for a PD was a bit rare at the time, so I started working mall security while serving in the Reserves.
5 years ago, I was a Supervisor for that security company in CT. One of the top-ranked sites in the country (top for our company). We were unarmed, but had plenty of excitement. Foot chases, apprehending armed subjects, investigations, the works. I loved it, but CT sucks and the pay was not enough to live on.
When I met who I thought was the woman of my dreams, we decided to move in together in Pennsylvania, where my family was. I had received a job offer from the CT Department of Corrections, but Corrections was a second choice and I had no interest in staying in CT at that point. My mind had been made up.
My ex and I lived together in the adjoining house to my parents. They lived in an early 2000's addition made to the 1700's farmhouse my ex and I occupied. She found a job immediately...while the job I had secured before we moved suddenly fell through. I was told budget reasons.
For 3 months, I sent out hundreds of applications, and basically survived off the charity of my parents and what little income I got from the Army. My ex and I had very little in the way of overhead at that point, so we managed. My own debt, however, was soaring due to an issue with Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation. This was a vent I posted many months ago, but the gist of it was due to an error at Nissan, I could not make car payments for several months. My credit was destroyed and I couldn't catch up. It took until the past month to finally undo much of that damage.
I finally proposed to my ex a month and a half before we deployed. However, she broke off the engagement, and I never saw her again, about a month into her deployment to Guantanamo. By this point I had found employment with a lawncare company to pay the bills, and had just passed the final testing phase for the local sheriff's department.
About two weeks after the breakup, a local drug task force showed up at our home. Turns out my father had been smoking weed to deal with a chronic back problem. He had come dangerously close to a narcotic addiction in the past and so refused most medications now, or used just enough to remain functional, but still in pain. He had a plant on the property I wasn't aware of, and it had been reported anonymously.
Due to his position in the community, and some friction with a board of directors, he was essentially run out of town. Within days, I was dropped from the Sheriff's department's consideration. The sheriff is considered "old school" by many, and I had gotten into the process as quickly as I had because he and my father knew each other. Not too hard to connect the dots there.
My parents left for Florida and essentially a new life. I stayed in PA, about as far as I could reasonably commute from my unit still located in CT. I moved in with a "friend" from work with my dog.
When my dog barked at him one day when he got home, he tried to kick her and started threatening her. I told him to never, ever touch my dog, especially when she had done nothing wrong.
He went through an elaborate scheme and created a fake email that he "forwarded" to me from his landlord, stating my dog and I were there against the lease (he was renting-to-own, I was told when he subletted the room to me that there was no problem), and that I had three days to get out.
I contacted the landlord directly to work something out. Since the email had been faked, this obviously created an actual problem for both me and my roommate.
In the end, I left on the third day. I lived in my car with the dog for about three weeks before I made a deal with my parents, and the local bank. When they left PA, they could no longer afford the house they had here. It was going into foreclosure, which would likely take months. I needed a place for just a month or so until I left for Fort Irwin for a solid month. After that, I just needed two months until I deployed to Africa.
Africa was my endgame. The money I would make there would pay off all my debt, help repair my credit, and help me find a real home.
I would be allowed to stay in the house for the timeframe I needed. I would take my dog to stay at my sister's in CO while I was deployed, so I took her a couple months early to help alleviate the stress on her and myself throughout all this madness.
However, not four days after I dropped her off, my sister's roommates left the door open and she disappeared. She hasn't been seen since.
Then I left for Fort Irwin. While I was there, the bank decided to reneg on the deal without informing me. I came home to changed locks and my stuff moved somewhat indelicately into the garage. Much of it was destroyed, either by the move itself or by sitting in the freezing cold for a month.
I was homeless again. I managed to work a bit, and save enough to get down to Florida. My parents again let me stay with them while I worked for the two months before the deployment. During this time, my luck seemed to be changing: The police department I had been trying for, among many others, here in PA called. I was offered the position of Probationary Police Officer. When I got home from my deployment, all I would need to do is take the psych eval and the PT test, and I would start the academy.
Then I deployed. Life was good. Doing good work, making good money, with a good job waiting for me when I got home.
About a month into the deployment, things went even further south back home. Nothing I want to elaborate on, but it affected me dramatically. My team sergeant became concerned for me, but before sitting me down to talk it out, he took it to our company commander, a newly-promoted Major.
The Major, with (unconfirmed, but relayed by who I consider a reliable source) heavy influence from JAG, decided I needed an evaluation. The Major told me I would be sent to Landstuhl, Germany for the evaluation. There were no staff/facilities to do it where I was. If I needed any treatment, it would be handled there, and if not, I would likely return to Africa within a month or so.
I knew I was fine, so I put up very little resistance. However, when I got to Landstuhl, I was told that because I hadn't deployed out of Germany, they wouldn't do the eval there. I was stuck there for a couple weeks, and then sent back stateside, to Fort Belvoir.
Again, I sat there for about a month waiting for an appointment. Finally I was evaluated, and after a single appointment full cleared. But...because I had been sent stateside, I would not be returned to my unit. I would be released with a "return to duty" note, essentially forgotten by the Army.
I made a tiny fraction of what I expected to. I paid off enough debt to make a difference, and used the rest to get an apartment in PA near the Department that was hiring me. I could afford rent for a couple months. I just needed to make it from November to January, when the academy started.
I did the psych eval, no problems. Then the physical test...I missed the situps, by one half. I didn't hit the mat fast enough. The Detective-Corporal grading me seemed to want to give me the credit, but the man running the test said no.
So, not even a half sit-up. Like a quarter. Regardless, that was it.
I called my department. There's another test before the January academy, and I know I can do it. This was a bizarre fluke and a call I didn't agree with but can't fight.
I got the call an hour ago that the Chief has decided not to give me that other chance. The offer of employment was rescinded.
I have part-time work I can do here, but it's $9.00/hr. Using it to supplement what I have saved, I think I can stretch the rent/bills until February, maybe March or so.
I was on active duty for about two weeks shy of six months. No veteran's benefits. The job I've worked towards for ten years just told me to basically pound sand.
I understand their position. But to know I am passing up my dream job for less than a single sit up is, frankly, devastating.
I called a few of the other departments that had approached me around the same time. This department was first, and the offer was contingent on me withdrawing from any other offers. Unfortunately the lists for those other departments have expired in the time since I last spoke to them. They all invited me to re-rest for 2017, perhaps start the academy in January 2018, or pay my own way through the academy (about $5000).
I can't afford the $5000, and even if I could, I would need at least twice that to be able to pay the rent and bills while I attended. It's a commute, mon-fri 0700-1700 typically, and you are prohibited from having outside employment while attending.
It's just funny, I guess. Ask me a couple years ago, and things would have looked much different. I would have been a soldier and pre-service cadet, married to a beautiful woman, also a police officer and MP, with a house, dog, and future.
Right now, I'm a soldier who's broke, with no idea where I am or where I'm going. I banked too heavily on this job. I have no friends here.
I'll figure out a way to survive as I always have in the past. But I needed this vent, and as always, I am incredibly thankful to Para and you all for providing the space to do it.
Today and tomorrow are purely for reflection and re-grouping. Too much going on in my head right now to do anything.
It may be time to figure out an entirely new path, and how to get there.
Good for you for sticking through it.
what part of PA are you in?
OP, since you're in Pennsylvania and have Army experience, why not look into a position with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections?
Civil Service, Union shops and the pay ain't bad....about $35k at end of training. Civil Service gives Veterans test preference. (usually +10 points)
Training center is in Elizabethtown, Pa. not too far from Harrisburg.
IMO, it's worth a look!
"Good Girls go to Heaven. Bad Girls go everywhere". - Mae West.
I'm in York.
It well may be. I generally have no interest in Corrections (it's why I turned down CT) but at this point, beggars can't be choosers. I do not qualify for Veteran's preference under most definitions. Maybe it's different for them but typically its 180 days active duty. I came in a couple weeks shy.
|Bookers Bourbon |
and a good cigar
Being as you're in York, why don't you drive up to Three Mile Island just south of Middletown and see about Nuclear Security. They pay pretty darn good. Mucho OT $$ during refueling outages.
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Keep chopping wood xwesler, that's all you can do. Keep applying, someone will hire you. Sounds like you are resilient enough to make it through.
You will be in my prayers. Good things happen to good people, sometimes it just takes a while.
A couple SIGs and a few others
You have time on your side, hang in there, it'll all work out....REGROUP!
Hang in there.
Most of what you described I have been there, or part of it I am going through now. The big negative for me is that I have age working against me
When you enlisted, did you pick up the GI Bill or Post 9/11 GI Bill? If so you can use that for a police academy plus money to live on.
I ask because I am looking to use my GI Bill to pay for a police academy. Even though I was once certified and have ten years experience I cannot get a call back from anyone.
I will offer this suggestion, look at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. They are hiring right now, but you would have to relocate to WY, ND or SD but they pay for a live in academy, pay a great salary and is very unique and challenging.
It took me almost 10 years to get on my first dept and it was in VA not my home state of Ohio where i grew up and always wanted to work.
I am not sure what your MOS is but if you are still in the USAR Or NG why not volunteer for another deployment through PFI or Tour of Duty.
It helped me and some my buddies out in the past when we could not find work.
And I looked - You are 30 minutes away from Camp Hill, Headquarters of the PA Department of Corrections and their academy. http://www.cor.pa.gov/Employme...lt.aspx#.WFsYQIWcFaQ Many police departments are experiencing a talent drain today, but are looking for criminal justice experienced candidates. You might want to reconsider your position. When I went to work for my first Sheriff's Department I had to start in the jail. I was always a hustler, and got invited to go to the road after about six months. And I had the benefit of knowing how to handle assholes and convicts better than I would have had I gone straight in as a street cop.
My Godson graduated from the Academy (Colorado POST) but couldn't find a PD to hire him, so he joined the Coast Guard. His law enforcement skills are used all the time and he is a life saver to boot. He has finished his Bachelor's and is testing with the US Marshal's Service.
Take the time you need to consider your options, but look further out that just a career as a police officer or road deputy and you might find yourself going the way you want sooner than later.
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American Legion Life Member
Its only a hill, if you think its a hill. . .
The only advice I can offer is that a complete change of path and career might be an excellent option should it present itself.
I just severed ties 8 years into gov't work in public safety and completely started new. It is hard, and I'm learning and needing to learn so much more than I can elaborate on, but it was the best thing that has happened to me in about 10 years. I'll spare the details, but I feel you on many of the subjects you brought up.
I wish you the best, and I have a buddy from the agency I worked for with family and connections in PA. I don't know exactly where, but I will be asking him in a few minutes.
Know one thing...
So many people would've self destructed halfway through what you've been through. I know that might not mean shit, but when you look back on this stuff I hope you can wear those battle scars with a distinct sense of self worth and pride.
Hang in there and don't give up. You changed your goal in life years ago and have been on the path towards your career choice. Things look bad, I can remember when you posted about your dog months ago. That was a heartbreaker for you at the time, but you got past it. I think you did the right thing in taking a couple of days to re-evaluate your situation. I believe everything in life happens for a reason. There is light at the end of the tunnel for you, stay on your chosen course.
Good luck to you, post to get your frustrations out and let us know how you are doing.
The Border Patrol is hiring, and I understand they pay well.
"ya gotta start in the morning if you're gonna drink all day"
My best friend actually graduates their academy in January. I unfortunately do not have college under my belt yet, which IIRC they required. But I'm meeting her for lunch this coming saturday, and it's something I'll look in to.
I ran to one of the courthouses here to renew my dog's license, and was BS'ing with one of the Deputies. He said they are absolutely desperate for people now, and was shocked I had gotten the "thanks but no thanks" letter a couple years ago. I think I'll grab an application for them when I go to renew my permit tomorrow. Why not, maybe third time's the charm for them?
In addition I'll be checking out some of the other ideas you've all pitched so far. Nothing wrong with getting a few more irons in the fire.
I'm also going to re-take the physical test in January, on my own dime. It's only $25...and I can do a few things with it. I can either try to find some form of financial aid, OR, and I do feel awful about this, but I can hope that one of the cadets York is replacing me with fails. I can then call the LT and basically just say "Hey, I passed, I can go to the academy regardless...why not as your cadet?" and see if they'll essentially "re-hire" me. It's very unlikely, but worth a shot for $25.
|Loves His Wife|
[quote]up.[/quotes seems you've tried to make all the right moves and decisions only to have live serve up another shit sandwich at each turn. Your fortitude is exceptional to work through all of that and find a way to forge ahead.
You have youth on your side and a strong will and spirit. I know it's hard to believe but eventually the clouds will break and an opportunity wil be fulfilled for you. God Bless
I am not BIPOLAR. I don't even like bears.
Big River Leather
Handcrafted Gun Leather and Accessories
|Prince of Cats|
I've told my story here enough times, fail after fail, no matter what I tried. Eventually I let loose of my death grip on trying, prayed a lot, and through a very strange series of events that looked all to much like a list of failures once again, came out on top.
The trick was just to keep pushing, and never quit. I can't count it as an accomplishment, because I know that God took me from where I was, and placed me where I needed to be.
I will be praying the same happens for you, my friend.
Car got totalled this morning.
I really, really need a change of pace here!
No injuries, all good. Could have been far worse and I'll have to hear from the insurance company but I don't expect more than 2-3000 for the vehicle, if I'm lucky (high mileage 2009 Ford Crown Vic).
Of course, on the plus side, I may be able to get a POS for $1000 or something and use the rest to stretch my rent out a bit more while I figure out the rest of this mess. Silver lining, and all that.
I'm being repressed!
Have you ever thought about the Border Patrol?
Announcement for GS-9 BPA if you have prior/current LE or military experience.
My recommendation - find an Air Force guard unit that has full-time openings. I know the Air Guard is hurting for mechanics pretty much all over the country. At the very least they can usually give you orders for 6 months to a year. It's easy to get on orders in the Guard. Very easy if you are willing to work.
How old are you and what is your rank/MOS? In the guard it doesn't really matter because they will send you to Texas anyway for at least three months for tech school. If you want to stay Army I can't help you there because I don't know how they do it, but I would imagine it isn't drastically different from the air side.
You can find guard jobs now listed on USAJobs. If you have any type of mechanical background they might even hire you right off the street. Most jobs start around 25 an hour with federal benefits. DC air guard sucks but they start even hire, and yes I know someone that works full-time in the DC air guard and lives in York.
I know recruiters from the MD ANG and DC ANG very well if you are interested in talking to someone. I have heard the PA air guard is better in terms of working conditions, and they have a spot in Harrisburg I believe. Would be closer and an easier drive for you obviously!
p.s. if you don't want to be a mechanic I know a lot of ANG security forces squadrons have plenty of need for guys to work overnight shifts and will usually put them on indefinite active duty orders or at least a temp tech tour. Could also be worth a looksie.
Border Patrol was brought up a bit earlier and is certainly a consideration, but not in the short term.
I'm 27, and a 38B (Civil Affairs Specialist). My contract with the Army is another 6 years as of now (I re-enlisted earlier this year).
I have a few connections that I'm going to try and use now. This issue today with my car threw a monkey wrench into the works, but that's all it is. It *may* not even be totalled, honestly I don't know enough about such things. I know the back two tires and wheels will need to be replaced, the passenger door replaced, and something snapped so that the front wheels were facing complete opposite directions. Beyond that, nothing visible I could see. Of course, it's a 2009 Crown Victoria with 158k on it, so it's value is likely fairly low. It has some sentimental value so I hope it can be repaired, but I won't find that out for another day or so.
If it can't be saved, I'll need to figure out transportation and then start the new job hunt. Hopefully by this weekend things will be a bit more squared away.
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