So here it is, the beginning of a new year and the beginning of a new life. I recently worked for the City of Denver answering emergency and non-emergency calls for the Denver Police. I am 61, widowed and recently retired.
Leaving 911 is probably one of the dumbest things I’ll ever do. Finances are abysmal. I have little savings, and I’m up to my eyebrows in debt. So why did I leave an essential job that pays decently and provides good benefits?
1. Because I can. On January 25th I hit that magical “rule of 75” when my age and my years of service equal 75 and I was able to leave the city with benefits and an almost-full pension.
2. Because my health wouldn’t allow me to stay. I was sleep deprived and stressed, and always on the verge of a migraine.
3. Because—and this is the real reason—this job was sucking my soul dry. I’d built up calluses where I never thought I’d need them.
There are other reasons, too, of course. Motives for any decision are rarely simple.
I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of never being able to see anything to a conclusion, of never knowing the outcome.
Not to say there weren’t perks to this job. Working for 911 has a certain cachet. I always had a story to tell. Once in a while, I actually got to help someone, not just act as a hall monitor for people behaving badly.
It is a job worth doing. The people who do it are dedicated to helping and making things better. But it’s hard, and I’m done with it.
I still want to help people, but I want to let myself care again while I’m helping. I want to not assume the worst about people. And I want to have some fun.
So now I’m looking at the next phase of my journey. Maybe I’ll finally figure out what it is I want to do when I grow up.