When did the world go crazy? When did beeping text messages, dinging phone notifications, blogs and social media replace conversations, meetings, dates and relationships? This noise has left society fragmented, isolated and more polarized than ever.
And what do we really have to complain about? If you are reading this article, you are more than likely not experiencing third-world problems as the result of war or famine. You are more than likely not homeless, wondering if you are drinking clean water or doubting if you will eat today.
Too much noise …
Distractions — the world is full of them now. Inflation is at a 40-year high. Gasoline prices are at $5.75 a gallon. Contract negotiations stalled while the Board of Supervisors (BOS) determines the priorities (read — political agenda) of the next fiscal year. Upcoming primary elections, including two County Supervisor races and the Sheriff (nine candidates, lots of negative press, concerns of a runoff and a daring endorsement). Added to this political landscape is the continued concern of COVID-19 variants and the BOS’ continued attempts to gain compliance with the harshest, out-of-date vaccine mandate in the country.
… Be bold. Courage is not being loud but brave when faced with adversity.
Too much noise …
Now is the time to set aside all of the interruptions and get back to focusing on the important aspects of your career and life. Public safety is still a noble profession. We are among the few selected to be hired by the best law enforcement agency in the world. We should behave accordingly.
Our units should be a place of optimism, not complaint.
We do not do this thankless job strictly for the salary or benefits (although we deserve our fair share), but to fulfill that inner, burning desire to serve. Those in this profession should embrace this calling every day, filling our hearts with the satisfaction of protecting the communities and its citizens.
During these distracting times, it is important to stand together in our profession and in our Association (PPOA), even though our opinions may differ and especially when others are trying to divide us. Standing shoulder to shoulder against the adversity, false narratives and noise is paramount.
The negativity of the world should be shut from our minds. We should not give our critics any ammunition in their arguments; instead, we should show them why we do this job. We cannot allow the noise to exacerbate the us-versus-them mentality. To avoid the criticism, community members tell me that involvement and collaboration are key … that requires someone to be the bigger person, and I say it is us.
Step up to the plate. Stop complaining. Control what you can control. Be the leader you demonstrated to yourself and this profession when you were hired. Remember the pride and desire to improve you had as a new hire. Use your positive (not destructive) influence on those around you. Do your best. Defend what is true. Stand by your decisions.
That being said, be bold. Courage is not being loud but brave when faced with adversity. Ambition is good. PPOA has your back when making these decisions. Standing up for values is great. Overreaching efforts and trying to do the right thing should be applauded as it raises the bar of professionalism for others to witness and follow.
Most importantly, do a personal evaluation of your priorities. Complaining itself is a harmful behavior that leads to a negative mindset. Stay balanced. Time is the most valuable asset in any lifetime. Use your time wisely to stay healthy, focused on family and meeting your spiritual and emotional needs.
In other words, work hard, enjoy your life and block the noise.