THeRe'S An AnGeL On My ShOuLdEr...

Friday, February 10, 2006

Stuck Between a Rock & A Hard Place 

I love my job. I really do. I love the thrill of the hunt. I love putting the pieces together & helping to catch crooks & put them away. I love the responsibility of dorecting where the LSA resources are to be deployed. I love being able to prevent further crime. I love being a big fish in a little pond. I love that my area is not into office politics, bitching and backstabbing (unlike Treasury & Finance, how refreshing). I love the people I work with, for the most part. I love the flexibility and autonomy I have to do my job.

But it all comes at a price.

I started in Sapol in 1999 together with 15 other civillian Intelligence Analysts. We weren't neccessarily well received as we were seen to have 'taken' jobs away from sworn members. The road to acceptance & respect was a difficult one at times.

We all started as ASO4's, even though it was fairly clear that the positions benchmarked with other public service comparable positions at somewhere between an ASO5 and an ASO6. Even in comparison with our peers in the intelligence field (AFP, Customs, NCA, ACC) we were underclassified and underpaid. We had concerns about this and voiced them early. We also had concerns that there was no career structure. We were told in September 1999 that within a year, they would re-evaluate the level and also develop a career structure. We are STILL waiting. What does this mean? if nothing else it means that I'm out of pocket about 40 odd grand. That's hardly small change. It also means that had I stayed where I was, there was at least a good chance of becomming an ASO5 - as did some of the people I used to supervise when i was there. It's humiliating. In Treasury & Finance I had about 20% of the work and responsibility that I have now.

Every time we have attempted to have it reviewed, it has either been squashed or burried, or it's incorporated into an Intelligence review and they ALWAYS run out of money before getting to the changes that affect the civillian employees. How very convenient.

A couple of my peers have applied for re-classification, and have both had them burried - even though that's illegal. There have also been efforts to sabotage the prospects of some of us who have tried to move to other departments.

When we joined, we were the equivalent of Sargeants, both financially and authority and responsibility. As a result of lack of adequate pay rises (cost of living my arse) and significant payrises for the sworn members of Sapol, we are now the equivalent of 11th year Constables. Not even Senior Constables. Last year we had a member in my area on light duties. She worked Monday to Friday, the same hours as me & did the same work as me. She took home $10000 a year more than I did.

Is it any wonder I'm not just a tad bitter & resentful?

So, what else?

I've also reached the point where I find it extremely difficult dealing with the subject matter. I'm sick of having nightmares about 5 year old girls being raped twice a week by a couple (male & female) who baby-sat her. This went on for two years & was discovered when she tried to French kiss her Nanna. I'm sick of all the suicides and domestic violence. I'm sick of people not caring if anyone is home when they go in & steal their possessions. I'm sick of the elderly being taken advantage of. I'm tired of the wreakage that becomes peoples lives. I find it extremely difficult to believe that the world is essentially a good place. It's very hard to maintain perspective. Fortunately I have my loved ones & without them, I may not even be here.

Another thing to be resentful about.

Last year I was very sick for a while. it was as a result of a new term 'vicarious traumatisation'. I had started taking on everyones pain personally & lost perspective. It caused severe anxiety and depression. I'm OK now, but it was a long hard road getting here & I'm eternally grateful for all of the support I received.

But it shouldn't have happened.

Sworn members have regular reviews to try & prevent this sort of thing before it develops. Because we (Intelligence Analysts) are civillian, nobody thought to include us in the same welfare process - even though we are exposed to the same things.

My job is no longer good for my health or my finances, even though I love it.

I'm not sure what I should do next. Any suggestions?




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