How many times in your career have you been asked if you were ready for something? Whether it was having all your equipment, being caught up in your yearly training or being prepared in case you are injured or the inevitable happens. No one likes to think about no longer being here, but it is a sad reality that we all must face.
As I enter my final year with Metro, I look back at some of the choices I made when I was younger to get myself to this point. I was always concerned with the well-being of my family in case something happened to me. My question to all our officers is, are you ready? Have you taken the steps necessary to ensure the financial stability of your family if you are hurt or worse? Being here with the PPA and getting to meet new officers in the Academy, we see people at the beginning of their careers. My brother, Steve, always asks the new hires if they’ve purchased a new truck. Think back to your Academy days, I am willing to bet that someone bought themselves a new truck. Without fail, someone raises their hand and almost always, this person is living at home with mom and dad or in an apartment with his or her roommates. I am not telling anyone how to spend their newfound riches, but that truck is now worth less than half of what you paid for it.
Don’t put yourself in a position where you must stick around to pay your bills off. Have a plan, and be ready to execute that plan. If we are fortunate enough to reach that magical 20-year point, we should realize that at this point, it is time to ensure that you have begun your preparation for life after Metro. The things that should be important to you are your family, your health and your financial stability.
Another area of concern is our members’ use of leave. I have known countless people who have retired without a single hour to sell back. If you have to use that leave for family reasons or medical reasons, then that is what it is for. But there are people who believe that calling in sick just because you have a few hours saved is OK. Personally, I have always maintained my leave balance because I have a family, and you never know when you will need it. I had a friend who had about 22 years on when his kid became ill. He had no time to take off, and unfortunately, no one was willing to donate to him because everyone knew this guy abused his leave. He ended up going LWOP, and it put a strain on his family. I implore you all to be smart with your time and your money. Be prepared for tomorrow because if you blink, tomorrow is already here.