Today I’m hosting John Eldridge, cop turned author, who is going to tell us a bit about his new book: Second Careers for Street Cops.
John, please give my readers a thumbnail sketch of who you are.
Hi John. Thanks for the opportunity to let your readers know a bit about me and my book. I was a police officer in Vancouver, British Columbia, for 26 years. Policing turned out to be just the right type of career for me, always on the go and never knowing what each new shift would bring. After my police career, I went to work in the Investigations Division of the Workers Compensation Board where I led a team investing fatalities and serious injuries in the workplace. It was a good follow-up to my police career as I used many of the skills I learned in police work. A lot of our investigators were former police officers so I felt right at home.
During my time at the Workers Compensation Board, I hired police officers who were getting ready to retire from police work and wanted a second career. They had investigative skills and brought a great resumé to their job search, but here’s what I noticed about most of those retiring cops: they didn’t have a plan for a second career. I began to think about how I could help police officers plan for a second career.
When did you begin writing and why?
After I retired from my second career, it took about a year to transition and realize I didn’t have a full-time, high pressure job anymore. But I still wanted a challenge. I’d always enjoyed writing (yes, even police reports) so I thought I’d try writing a book.
Then came the big question: “What should I write about?” Someone told me: “Write what you know.” So, I thought about my most recent life’s experiences and concluded that what I knew most about was police work and moving from a police career into a second career. My experience hiring those police officers taught me some lessons about preparing for such a move. At that point I got excited about the writing project and figured I could produce a book that would help our current police officers get ready to move on to a second career.
Briefly describe you book.
I wrote Second Careers for Street Cops in a way police officers can relate to. It’s structured to roughly follow the pattern of a police investigation, except the investigation is about the reader’s own experience and career portfolio. Some of the chapter titles will be familiar to a police reader. Chapter Two is called Assess the Situation, Chapter Three is Gather the Facts, and Chapter Eight is called Every Investigation Needs an Operational Plan – Design Yours.
The big point to see here is the reader doing a self-investigation, assessing their own strengths and weaknesses, and gathering documentation to build a solid resumé. All that needs to be done before a police career ends so the officer is set up to plan and move into a second career smoothly. It’s way better than just hoping to get lucky and stumble into a new career they’ll like. That’s a key message.
Finally, my book gives the reader some resources to follow up with, places to get more information about planning for a second career.
Besides your book, Second Careers for Street Cops, have you published anything else?
I do a blog focused on second career issues at http://secondcareersforstreetcops.com/?page_id=36 and from time to time I write articles on a site called Careers in Government https://www.careersingovernment.com/
Do you write anything besides non-fiction?
Back in my policing days, I wrote a crime prevention column for a local newspaper. Now I’m working on a short story with a police theme set in Vancouver.
Briefly tell us about your family, where you live, and any hobbies or passions.
I live in Vancouver with my wife and our Golden Retriever dog. Like a lot of writers, I’m a big-time reader, mostly about crime, politics and our changing world. The great crime writers Ian Rankin and Michael Connelly are two of my favorites. I belong to the Public Safety Writers Association and enjoy my connection with other writers there.
I’d be happy to have your readers follow me on Twitter @copsecondcareer and you can find me on LinkedIn.
Do you have any new books on the horizon?
The changes in job seeking, second careers, and opportunities for police officers are ever changing. I’m watching what is happening and considering how I can update my book in a way that will be valuable to police officers looking ahead to a second career. I’m planning to start that update in the fall of 2017 so the second edition should be available early in 2018.