I am moving to Bahrain in September. Ever since I was told I would be moving I have asked myself “Is this really happening?”
This time last year I was going through a bit of a rough time as I was again going through promotions at my last job with Ventura County Probation in California. I loved being a Probation Officer. I really did. As cliché as it sounds, I wanted to help people any way I could and show those who did not have a lot of positive things going on in their life that there was a lot of positive in the world. Whether they took that or not, that was on them. You know, the whole “you can lead a horse to water” thing. Quite a few did. If I made a difference in at least one person’s life then I did my job. I saw a lot of good there, surrounded by a lot of bad. I worked with some good people and made good friends despite the agency being run by what myself and a lot of people consider incompetent egoists. I am glad I left when I did because it has not gotten any better.
Making the decision to return to my job with the Navy was huge. I worked for them from 2001-2006 and learned so much. My mentor was tough but fair. Still is. I left in 2006 because I wanted to promote, but I would have to leave California. I couldn’t leave at that time and have no regrets that I stayed. Those years with my mom, grandparents, and family are times I can never replace.
In 2012, after over five years with the probation agency it was time to promote. The biggest openings they had in years. I applied and after they tried to change the rules in their people’s favor, I got an interview and then a second interview. I wound up not getting the promotion. They told me “not enough understanding of evidence-based practices.” This was odd, because my whole career had been supervising caseloads using evidence-based practices so I did not understand. They did not explain. Imagine if you were a mechanic and specialized in working on Mercedes-Benz cars. You could do any type of car, but you were really good at Mercedes-Benz. Then they are promoting someone to lead mechanic. You interview and when you don’t get it they tell you it is because you don’t know enough about working on Mercedes-Benz.
The people they did promote could not explain what evidence-based practices were. One of them told me that at their interview they answered that they had no idea about evidence-based practices but were willing to learn. My other assets were not as big as hers though and I was not in their club. Ones who did get promoted were nice and had a good smile and didn’t ask questions. Something I have been having an issue with since kindergarten (the asking questions part, overall I am a pretty nice). I was not pleased. I was frustrated, upset, and hurt. I had not had any major problems with the agency until then and thought people’s complaints were partly of their own volition. Now things made sense to me. I needed to take an evaluation of myself, my life, and my career path.
Shortly after that, I played golf with my old boss and another great friend and I asked my boss if he thought I could come back to this job. We talked and joked about it during the day. Going home and thinking about it some more I realized the opportunities I could take advantage of by coming back. Because the economy is not so great the only reason I would leave a smooth government job is for another government job. I still have retirement with the Navy, and I am six years more mature that I was when I left. I called him and told him I was not joking and was going to apply. I applied for three jobs outside of California and interviewed for one in Florida. I had been out of this job for over six years. I should not have gotten as deep of a first look as I did. Something my parents have always taught me is be cautious of your reputation as it is all you have. I built my reputation up during the five years I was with the Navy and because of that, I got an interview. I didn’t get the Florida job, but they pointed me towards a new position that was being created in Bremerton, WA.
I did get that job, and during the time where I had to make decision to accept, I also got a call from the probation agency that I was getting another interview for a promotion because they had a few more positions open up. The truth was that they had to interview me because I was still on the list. They had someone else in mind for the job but I was still hopeful about another chance. I interviewed again and like the previous time I got a call that I did not receive the promotion. Instead of being upset and disappointed as I was the first time I knew it was time to for me to leave. There was nothing more I could do there. I’m still there in some part: http://public.venturaprobation.org/index.php/about-us/media/video/agency-video
This is where this journey started in October 2012.