Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Interview with...a probation officer

Since this is a blog about relationships, I thought it would be good to interview some people we may meet regularly in our lives.  I wanted to know the good and the bad of what they do and how we can make it better. After all that's what this blog is all about, making relationships better.  So over the next few weeks we will be hearing from a chiropractic physician, a probation officer, a real estate agent, a server at a restaurant, a custodian, and hopefully a couple more.  I hope you enjoy this and learn a little something too.

Today we are hearing from an old friend of mine who is a probation officer, a husband, a dad, a geek, a runner, and a blogger.  He blogs at The Rantings of a Dad and Fat Guy Running.  He's the reason I started blogging, so you should definitely check those out.  Before this interview, I really didn't know what he did.  After the interview, I have a ton of respect for this job that doesn't seem to get much.  If you encounter a probation officer, remember this interview and treat him like a professional who wants to help kids that desperately need it.

What is your job title?
Community Adjustment Juvenile Probation Officer

What is the best thing about your job?
The belief that what I do makes an impact in the lives of juveniles who have made bad decisions.

What is the worst thing about your job?
It is a very thankless job, many people don’t truly appreciate it, even within probation.  Hard schedule, difficult situations, and not much appreciation amongst my coworkers.

What is the most considerate thing someone has done for you?
Every Christmas our supervisor tries to say thanks for a great year by getting us each gift cards.  But one year he got us warm stocking caps.  I really appreciated that.

What is the least considerate thing people do to you?
When casework Probation Officers completely ignore things we’ve observed in the field.  When we say a kid’s house smells like marijuana and he’s rarely at home during our checks, and the PO sends a memo to the judge asking for a relax in the release conditions simply because they don’t want the kid on their caseload anymore.  Yes, that actually happens.

What could people do to be more considerate to you?
All I ask for is a follow up to my work.  A violation if it is needed, a call, an address verification. Just about anything that says that my opinion/work matters.

What unspoken rule to people break most often?  
In Probation the unspoken rule is to “Cover your own [butt]” and in so doing, many people break some of the unspoken rules of just a decent working environment.  Throwing coworkers under the bus, ignoring emails, etc.

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