I would like to share a story with my startup community peeps. Something that a vast majority of society have no clue about; something I have suffered myself. I read articles about business leaders lamenting the lack of critical thinking skills in business school graduates. I read how business leaders and professionals struggle to find personnel that are able to make sound decisions, under extreme pressure, taking in multiple lines of information, all while keeping in mind policy and procedure, all while staying cool headed. There is a class of employee that do this daily – it is part of their job requirement – but they are not valued in the business world because of societal misconceptions and ignorance. These people are the men and women in law enforcement.
People with law enforcement backgrounds simultaneously work in a chain of command and work independently. Law enforcement officers (LEOs) are required to know federal law, state law, local jurisdictional statutes, agency policies, and maintain ethical and moral standards. LEOs must analyze fluid, fast changing situations, recognize all possible options, within all those parameters, and make split second decisions in, often times, life threatening situations and within seconds. We have to be able to calm angry people, stop fights, encourage good behavior, and resolve conflicts peaceably, praying to not have to use force or deny someone their freedom. LEOs go from running into a burning house, while children are screaming for their father who they believe is inside, then, an hour later, get berated and cursed at for writing someone a ticket, being told “Don’t you have something better to do, like saving a life or going after real crime?”
We have to plan strategically, understand operationally, and act tactically, all while being evaluated by superiors and judged by society.
We do this everyday. 10-14 hours a day. And we love it. We thrive in the challenge. We are problem solvers, solid under pressure, and typically unfazed by bad treatment. We are the epitome of customer service, the very critical thinkers sought, the embodiment if innovation, yet, the business world not only doesn’t understand, but also makes false assumptions based on inaccurate representations by the media, and ignorance of society.
I lived this life. I have been an entrepreneur for longer than I have been an adult, have extensive background in business, marketing, and planning. Yet, every job I have applied for, my LE experience becomes a liability. Everything I listed is a direct response to the assumptions and ignorant statements of people in business. If you want dedicated, loyal, hard working, critical thinking, and pressure inoculated personnel, look in the ranks of law enforcement and those that have served. You will be surprised, and grateful, you did.