Being a Prison Guard Imprisoned Me

by Ted Freeman — ( June 12, 2014

prisontowerI am a 51-year-old man who is going to retire in three months after 25-years on the job. No, I’m not independently wealthy. All I have is a small pension to look forward to. But I need to leave my job. I need to do something different because I feel as though I’m going insane.
Most state workers can retire at the age of 60 with 30 years of employment. But, I am a corrections officer at a state prison so they have a different set of rules for us due to the stress and high rate of burnout.
I started my corrections career at the age of 25, so I am now eligible to retire. I will leave as soon as I can.
Before I became a corrections officer, I worked in retail; a job I held from the age of 15. The job had its stress but I really enjoyed it. I could be creative and imaginative. I felt productive.
I was entrusted with thousands of dollars in cash and supervised other employees. I got to know my customers and they got to know me. I provided terrific service. That aspect of the job was particularly important to me.
But when my employer told me that I wouldn’t be getting any more pay raises, it was time to look for something else. After all, I had a wife and three sons to provide for.
As a young man without a college education my choices were limited. I considered several private companies but none of them paid well enough. That’s when I turned to state employment.
Working inside a prison wasn’t my first choice but it paid the best and provided good benefits. So, I applied and eventually landed the job.
It wasn’t quite as I expected. All I knew about prisons was what I saw in the movies. So, needless to say, the transition from a customer service oriented job to working with convicted felons was challenging.


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