If you take the initiative, sooner or later you will be recognized. So take that initiative and get the training you need! iStock
FEATURED IN TRAINING
How many times has this happened to you? You go to work and find out a class you’ve been waiting for is being offered. This could be a class that would help you in a promotional setting, help you get a specialized assignment or improve your tactics.
The tuition is minimal, but the class is being offered a few hours away from your department. Also, it's on one of the days you normally work. So we all know what this means: You’ll have to stay at a hotel for a few days and it might mean overtime to cover your shift.
You complete a training request form and submit it to your supervisor. Instead of making a quick decision, your command staff takes several weeks. You finally hear that your school has been denied because of budgetary reason. To add insult to injury, a few days later you hear some administrators going to a “management retreat conference” at a plush vacation resort for three days.
So, after you calm down, my question to you is: How bad do you really want to attend your class? If you’re like most officers, you don’t put in for a class unless you thought it would make you a better officer or make your job safer.
In case you’ve been on another planet for the last several years, department’s budgets are truly not what they use to be. Unlike the other aspects of our government, cities are forced to reduce their spending and balance their budget.
Unfortunately, the first thing most departments cut is training and personnel.
So how can you still attend the class you’ve been waiting for, even though it was denied? If you’re like me, you don’t take the first or even the second “no” as the final word. It became standard for me to negotiate with my department so I could attend some of the classes I really wanted to. It was actually fun to see what I could get them to pay for and what I had to pay for.
Normally, the tuition for the class was minimum. It was the overtime and sometimes the hotel that was really the sticking point with the department, and the reason for denying the class. So, one of the first things I’d try to do would be to find someone to day-trade with me. Normally, if I could find someone to day-trade with me, the school request it would be approved upon resubmission.
However, from time to time the command staff would still deny the class, which meant if I really wanted to go I’d have to pay for the class out of my own pocket and take my own vacation to attend a class.
I know some of you are thinking: “I’m not going to use my vacation to go to a class the department should pay for!” Or: “If the department isn’t going to pay for me to attend training, I’m not going.”
My response is: “Shame on you!”
Every one of us has our idols, people we put on a pedestal, people who we look up to, respect, emulate and someday hope to be like. Do you really think they got to where they are by doing the minimal amount of work required? Of course not. These are the people who sacrificed time with their families and friends because they saw the big picture. They knew to get ahead in life and in your career you must go the extra mile—or two or three.
I know times are tough and family budgets are tight. But this isn’t “just a job.” This is your career. Suck it up and be a professional. What you learn by going to these schools and the skills you’ll improve may save your life or someone else’s someday.
For those currently taking your own time off and paying for classes out of your own pocket, you know what I mean. Keep doing what you're doing. Don't think you know it all. Stay hungry and keep learning, and bring back what you learned in class to teach others. The people you teach today may be your back-up officers someday. Keep raising the bar for other officers in your department. Be that someone others look up to and strive to be. Don’t be the officer who ends up on the news because of what went wrong. Be the one that did it right.
I guarantee all the additional time, extra training, work and money you spend won’t go unnoticed. In short time, you and others in your department will see the improvement in your work. Before you know it, you’ll reach your goal.