Pursuing Passion


Ask most officers if they enjoy their work and other than the usual complaints about bosses and politics, they’ll say they love it. If they don’t, they tend to leave and find something else to do. A hot car chase, a yard to yard search, or a building search will pump up the adrenaline and give a person a high that little else provides. It might take hours to come down from a busy night.

Troubleshooting Poor Outcomes
(Photo courtesy Steve Lyon)

When I get together with my retired friends someone will ask if I enjoyed the job and the answer is “Hell yeah.” It is a job for which one develops a pure passion. It’s why you see so many 30-year veterans. Sure, old coppers might move slower and bitch more, but they still enjoy a robbery in progress or car chase.

The work of a police officer is a thankless and dirty one, yet people still do it, and why? It is the passion that develops?

However, in every officer’s life there comes a time when they need to retire. It could be for mandatory or personal reasons. So, what do you do now to fill that void? Trust me, there will be a void. There will be a need for that passion.

I’ve seen retirees who never found something to replace that passion in their life. They become miserable. They’re missing that passion in their life. Obviously, they don’t need to be chasing hot cars or leaping fences running after garage burglars, but they need that passion.

I know some whose lifetime dream was to fish every day. They cash in their deferred comp plan and buy that bass boat with a 300 HP outboard and dual fish-finders. They live on the water looking for that elusive largemouth. They have a passion for fishing. Others found they enjoy selling real estate and do well because of the passion they have for sales. Sadly, some others try the same and the passion isn’t there for them and they suffer each day.

I know several police officers who retired and went on to teach at the college level. For many of them, this is a perfect choice. But it isn’t the right choice for all of them.

What do you plan to do in your retirement? My father-in-law had retired and gone to work for United Airlines. After a few years, United made some changes and his job was eliminated. Rather than be out of work he took whatever job they could give him. While I don’t think he really enjoyed some of the jobs, I’m positive he enjoyed the people he worked around, and he really enjoyed the flight benefits. That’s where he found the passion.

I retired without a real plan. I had reached a point where I was burned out and needed to do nothing for a while. That’s just what I did and after a few years, that got old.

six years ago
(Robert Weiskopf)

I had coffee one day with a friend who told me about his new book that he just published. I had always been afraid of writing. The thought of an assignment in school that required ten pages terrified me. But at this point I thought, what the hell, if he can write a book then so can I. Now, one cookbook and six novels later combined with my articles for LET, I have a new passion in my life.

If I’m not working on an article or chapter, I’m marketing my work. When I’m not doing that I’m working on ideas for my next piece. This allows me to be creative and puts passion in my life.

For you senior officers looking to retire, make sure your plans include passion. It gives you a reason to get up looking forward to each day. Remember too only you can decide what passion is for you. Perhaps you plan to open your own business and become a billionaire or perhaps you plan on grabbing your fishing pole and bucket of bait and head out to the local pond. Make sure that it brings passion to your life each day. Make sure you go to bed looking forward to your next day’s plans. Don’t sit around and wait to die. Too many have made that poor choice.

Stay safe everyone, run low and zigzag.

– Robert Weisskopf (Lt. ret.)


Author’s note: You can read all of Robert Weisskopf’s articles at https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/author/robertw332/ and find all his books on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2PsbT4t.

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