I worked for a Police Force for a year; that looks good on the CV, even if the reality of my job was rather more mundane. I wasn’t a uniformed constable or a detective, but a civilian worker. I didn’t get to meet any criminals or families face-to-face, and I didn’t get involved with anything particularly indepth or interesting. In fact, I probably added to the bureaucracy police officers had to endure, but only because that was the system at the time.
I was a Case Worker, one of a team set up to deal with the bureaucracy of getting cases to court after someone has been arrested – thereby freeing up the police officers to go back out on the beat. Logical, yes?
I loved the idea of working for the police, but the reality was very different; it was a bureaucratic blizzard of paper, fax machines, and ancient computers. The team itself was split in two; two-thirds were a mix of brand-new workers and old hands who were amenable, flexible, and rubbed along well with each other. The other third were made up of a small group of workers who gave the expression “a witches’ coven” a new meaning. They were embittered, mean, and determined that the team should work their way or no way. Unpleasant doesn’t entirely cover it; sour-faced is also a good description.
I was not a fan, as you can tell. I tried to get on with them, I really did; I wanted to be a fair team player, but they didn’t make it easy. They didn’t really want to try, to be honest; they had a clique, and the stereotype of a bitchy, gossipy group of female office workers must have had its inspiration in our office. It was so bad, it was almost laughable.
I don’t have very many memories from the year I was there; it was a bland job, or so it felt at the time. Perhaps I just wasn’t engaged, but I coasted – it was easy work, and the majority of people were pleasant, so I did everything I needed to do and then went home at the end of the day.
I didn’t have any strong emotions about this job; I liked a lot of the people, and even socialised with some of them from time to time, but it wasn’t a job I could get invested in – because, I suspect, I’d used it as an escape from the previous catastrophe of a job. I hadn’t become a Case Worker due to a burning urge to be a bureaucrat, but to escape a job I dreaded.
I wasn’t committed to this role, and I carry very little from it; emotionally or intellectually. That’s sad; an entire year out of my career that I can’t really comment on one way or the other. An odd sensation, but inescapable. I think that, because of this attitude, I was always on the look-out for a different job – another place of work to jump to – and after a year, I succeeded … or, rather, failed to make a clever move and instead moved to yet another depressing job. When was I going to learn?