Santiago Hernandez replied to the topic Millennial Monday: What brought you to public service? in the forum Career Advancement 8 years, 6 months ago
I had a different experience than the career paths mentioned on this discussion. First, I wasn’t even thinking about a career path in public service in the 1980’s. In 1988, after being laid off from my pharmacy technician job, a friend of mine encouraged me to apply for the sheriff’s department. Needing a job to support my family, on November 1988, I began my criminal justice career working for the county jail as a correctional officer. I also became a deputy sheriff during my tenure with the county jail. This experience, especially when dealing with inmates, prepared me when I applied for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Three Rivers, Texas in 1991. I would have loved to have stayed working for the county jail, but the organizational politics of the agency was just too much and the pay and benefits were dismal.
I related my county jail experience to an article written by Eran Vigoda-Gadot and Itai Beeri (2011) entitle, “Change-Oriented Organizational Citizenship Behavior in Public Administration: The Power of Leadership and the Cost of Organizational Politics.” Organizational politics contributed to a weaker job performance, reduced job satisfaction, increased job anxiety and stress and poorer performance of the organization and the individual. Due to the shortage of correctional officers, we were mandated to work an extra day, usual one of our days off, to keep staff on shift. Some officers decided not to come in on their assigned mandated days, putting job stress on those that did show up for work. I had been there three years and remained loyal to the agency.
Every correctional officer wants the opportunity to become a patrol officer. When the opportunity came, I applied for the position. I had been there three years, earned my basic police certificate, came in on my mandated days, rode along with patrol officers on my own time for experience, followed the directives of my supervisors and was dependable to the agency at a time when officers were leaving to work at the newly built federal prison that opened in Three Rivers, Texas. Out of the five candidates, I was told I met the expectations of the interview board, however, a female officer with less time than me and that had a relationship with a member of the interview board, was selected. There was no fairness or equity in the selection process, thus putting me in the disgruntled category.
Shortly thereafter, I followed the rest of my friends that had already been hired by the Bureau of Prisons. Currently, I have served the Federal Bureau of Prisons for over 22 years with retirement just around the corner. In addition, I am working on my MPA in order to continue my service to the public as either a college instructor or some type of elected office.
Unfortunately, I would not be able to address your second question since I am not an Echo Boomer.
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