Reflection - Is Your Job Really Boring?

Is Your Job Really Boring?
By: Christian Argudo

A fellow officer once told me that he loved his job, but he wasn’t too happy that it consists of endless boredom with very few moments of rush. I didn’t know exactly what he meant, but I guess a sluggish officer sees his daily routine as constant boredom. On the other hand, for a highly motivated officer, the job is anything but boring.

Besides this officer’s perspective, there is also a public misconception that cops sit in their vehicles waiting to be sent to a job, and occasionally conduct a traffic stop to write a ticket. Although not one hundred percent accurate, I can see some correlation. However, if you put certain perspectives in place you would realize that…

• There is nothing boring about directing traffic when there is a major accident or a traffic light is not working properly.

• There is nothing boring about conducting a field interview when you see a person who is not a resident of the area and is acting suspiciously upon your presence.

• There is nothing boring trying to be one step ahead and attempt to figure out where the car that was stolen a little while ago will be heading.

• There is nothing boring with doing community-oriented policing, and getting out of your car to talk to the local residents about what they want to see done in their neighborhood to make it better.

We know that unpredictability is what makes our job interesting. The problem comes down to some officers do not do the above and have become complacent with their job. They are known as the “call takers” instead of the “call makers.” The latter will find the stolen vehicle and pull somebody over, which will result in several felony charges. They even deter crimes just with their presence around town. The bad guys avoid them at all cost.

Most people don’t understand that the outcome of their work is not always “luck,” but hard work.

So, how do you deal with a “call taker” and keep them attentive and ready for action? In other words, keep them on their toes. There is not a “one size fits all” type of answer, since everybody has different personalities and reacts different to their environment.

To motivate your team, you need to get to know each person individually and persuade him or her to do the right thing. There are extrinsic motivators such as a favorite sector in town or even a preferable parking spot. There also intrinsic motivators, such as them knowing what they do means something to you and your department; but the utmost important motivator for everybody is recognition.

Recognize them by letting them take ownership of their jobs. Listen to any ideas they may want to share. Make them feel like they are part of the team and their opinions toward certain tasks matter. In addition, compliments are a great way to boost their morale. These are a few ways that would not only make your officers feel empowered, but you’ll also find they will work harder when they know they have a say.

So, the endless boredom attributed to the job could be more than just the job but other factors unknown to the naked eye. Hence, when your officers tell you that their job is boring; don’t go out elsewhere looking for an answer, because the real answer may be standing right in front of you.