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Dear Mari: They’re both good choices

BEING A POLICE officer or an educator are both good professional choices (Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC)

Dear Marilyn,

I am at a point in my life in which I need to make a career decision. There are only two careers that I can imagine myself actually doing.

I have narrowed it down to either becoming a police officer, or a teacher. These are both really great and rewarding careers, but I don’t know which one to pursue.

I did some research for both of these fields, and I am leaning towards law enforcement. However, I don’t want to make the mistake of becoming a police officer, and than finding out that I don’t like it.

When I ask my family and friends what to do, they all seem to say, “Well, it’s really up to you.” That is not a good enough answer for me. I have decided to compare and contrast my personality traits, using both professions.

I am a smart, bright person. I am highly motivated to succeed. I want to be able to help our society. I know that I can do this by teaching our future leaders, or by protecting the lives and property of our citizens.

I can tolerate stress, and I am very patient. I know that both of these careers can involve a lot of stress, and they both require patience.

Marilyn, I hope that you can assist me in making the right career choice. I would like for you to be honest, and explain to me an easy way to choose. Maybe you can help me to develop a “pros and cons” chart, to help me determine which career fits me best.

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Signed, Teacher or Cop?

Dear Teacher or Cop,

You have made a great start. You have researched both professions, and you are attracted to both of them.

   Your next step is to get some in person, and hands on experience with these jobs. Go to your local police department, and let them know that you are seriously thinking of becoming a peace officer.

   Ask if you can speak to some police officers. I am sure that many of them would be very glad to talk to you. Ask them all of the questions that you can think of. Also, observe what they do and how they do it. They may even allow you to ride along with them at some point.

   As far as teaching, think of your favorite teacher that you had when you were a student. Then, go and speak with that teacher. Ask for details about what he or she enjoy, and what the hardships are, about the teaching profession.

   After you have done this fieldwork, the answer to which profession is the one for you may be more obvious to you.

   One final thought. This may not be an “either- or” choice for you. Many policemen work with youth, and at schools. You may be able to find a way to combine the careers that you are interested in.

Dear Marilyn,

My best friend has been struggling with a relationship with a guy. He’s more than a friend. He is more like a friend with benefits. I can’t stand him.

He is constantly telling her that she is annoying him, or talking too much, or that she doesn’t look pretty enough. None of this is true.

I don’t know how to get her to break up with this jerk. I have tried to tell her that she could do so much better, and that she deserves someone that appreciates her.

She just won’t listen to me. What can I do to get her to open her eyes, and see that the relationship with this guy is not healthy?

Signed, Best Friend

Dear Best Friend,

   You really have done all that you can do. In matters of the heart, no amount of advice from a friend will get someone to do something.

   This is a decision, and a realization, that she will have to make for herself. At some point, it is likely that she will. It may well be that after she has had enough grief from this guy, that she will see the situation as it really is.

So, just be patient. Don’t nag her or offer her advice that she is not ready to hear. She knows exactly how he is treating her.

   At some point, she will probably be looking to you to help her with her broken heart.

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