Don’t Be That Person!

Hate this job? Might be time to find a new one ...

By Scott Hughes  |   Sep 19, 2016

We all know them. The officer that nobody wants to be around. The most disgruntled person (for reasons often unknown) in the organization. The officer who has the “countdown to retirement” app on his phone and finds it necessary to show it to everybody at roll call!

Guess what? Nobody cares!

Most officers are excited about coming to work every day and trying to make a difference. Despite the nonsense going on in the world currently, most people support the police. I know some of you just chuckled, but it’s true. The overwhelming majority of citizens support us and need us. Look at the outpouring of support for our profession in recent months.

Attitude is (Almost) Everything

During our classes, I ask the audience this question: “Have you ever hung around somebody so negative that you yourself became negative?” Think about that. You could show up to work being in the greatest mood, yet as soon as that guy/gal opens their mouth you are instantly depressed. Don’t be that person! Nobody is forced to a be a disgruntled jerk. That, to a large extent, is a choice.

Could it be you?

How many “things” piss you off each day that you have no control over? Yet, how much of this nonsense will absolutely consume you? The minute you get to work until the minute you leave, you’re upset! This often goes home with you and affects your home life. In a word, you’re miserable. Is that you? Someone you know?

Here’s the thing: We can’t worry about the things we can’t control. Work instead toward changing what is within the realm of possibility–and work hard.

Nobody reading this can control the political environment we’re in; you can’t really control what calls you’ll be responding to; you can’t control what people in the news media say or what people allege on social media. Beyond that, everyone gets sick sometimes; we all age; eventually we–and everyone we love–will die. That’s not changing anytime soon. So put a smile on your face, emphasize the abundant positives, and get to work!

If you’re consumed with fighting against these truths, it will literally consume you. If not a heart attack, then by making you unrecognizable to your better self. If that’s okay with you, fine. But think for a moment about how it affects those around you. A terrible attitude is like wildfire: It spreads and destroys everything around it.


I recently had a conversation with a disgruntled employee who gave me dozens of reasons—several hundred, actually!—why his (bad) attitude was justified. At the end, it didn’t matter. He was still a police officer.

All the justifications in the world won’t account for a long-term bad attitude in this line of work. If you disagree—whether you’re 21 or 61 years old—please do us all a favor: Find another line of work. Hopefully, somehow, you will find happiness.

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Scott Hughes
Chief Hughes holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Charleston and is a graduate of The Supervisor Training and Education program as well as The Police Executive Leadership College. Scott is also a graduate of the 133rd FBI-LEEDA Command Institute and is a certified Law Enforcement Executive (CLEE). Chief Hughes is an active member of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police where he serves on the education committee.