Some officers and citizens are easier to work with than others. Most of us know of a person or two on both sides of the thin blue line that just illicit an eye-rolling response as soon as we hear their voice. But, going into an encounter with them already in a negative space guarantees it will not be a positive experience. By trying to change our frame of reference and losing the negative labels, especially when we say them out loud or share them with others, we can at least neutralize the situation.
Be Optimistic, Yet Realistic at the Same Time
Bad things happen in our line of work. We deal with phone calls other people cannot even imagine in their nightmares. We work pursuits and shootings and emergency situations frequently. This is our reality. We live in a world filled with negativity. It is easy to get sucked into it. It is also necessary, if we intend on keeping our sanity throughout our careers, to dispel this negativity somehow. Choose to do this in an appropriate venue such as venting with a colleague outside of work, writing in a journal or discussing your experiences with a mental health professional. Thinking that we will never be negative and that we can keep all those “snarky” responses to ourselves all the time is unrealistic no matter how professional we are or how customer service oriented. What is realistic is to use tools to create positivity most of the time and to be forgiving to ourselves when we fall short on occasion.
In reality, I believe public safety communications operators are incredibly positive considering our daily experiences. Some days we interact with citizens and officers in a less than stellar manner but for the most part we try to keep things up-beat and professional. We still have negative thoughts and sometimes we get overwhelmed and our inner monologue brims to the surface. Acting and training as if this doesn’t occur does everyone a disservice. We must realize negativity exists while at the same time working towards improving ourselves and the positivity we can bring to our work places and lives.