3: Manifesting Growth – Driving Your Own Bus

Hi there friends!  Welcome to the Arizona APCO-NENA weekly guide-post where we talk about the amazing journey that some call work or job, or career or calling.  If this is your first time here, you are welcome to go back through prior post to get up to speed.   Today we are talking about “Driving Your Own Bus”!

So, here you are in the midst of your journey.  You are a competent 911 Operator or Dispatcher or Supervisor and you are beyond bored.   You like your shift and your job duties and don’t really want to promote or change jobs.  You’ve engaged on your shift and people often seek your input or insight because you are trusted and your skills are respected.  But you really yearn for intellectual stimulus, job growth or professional development.  Or, you want to promote but your Communications Center is really small and in order to promote, someone has to quit or retire.  So what do you do?

Our next recommended step is to take personal responsibility for your career, or Drive Your Own Bus!   You might be one of the lucky few who has a supervisor or manager that takes employee development very seriously and works with their staff to ensure everyone has a chance to learn, grow and develop.  Unfortunately, with staffing shortages in most centers, supervisors and managers don’t often have time to be proactive.  In other situations, a supervisor or manager may have the time, but lacks the know-how or budgetary support to help you develop intellectually or grow your skills.   You may even be reporting through a sworn supervisor who really does not understand your craft enough to help you develop.  If you are one of the lucky few with a proactive supervisor, skilled at employee development, then leverage it!  If you don’t have the luxury of a leader who wants to develop your skill set and expand your knowledge, then you can work to manifest it.

The first step in Driving Your Own Bus, or manifesting growth, is to ask for a meeting with your direct supervisor and tell them what you want.  This may sound hard to do, but don’t shy away from it or make it something bigger than it is.  You are smart and capable, and you handle life-threatening emergencies every single day.  You can have a direct conversation with your higher-ups and tell them what you need.

Pro Tip:  Meetings with your supervisor can be scary and nerve-wracking!   Prepare by jotting down some talking points on a sticky note or index card.  Nothing fancy, just something that will help you clearly articulate your message and keep you on point.  After the meeting follow-up via email with a synopsis of your goals, listing any action items that came out of the meeting and thanking them for their time and support of your development.    

You may be surprised to hear they had no idea that you wanted development opportunities.  Hopefully, your request will be well received and met with enthusiastic ideas and creative suggestions on how you can grow without diminishing focus or reducing staffing.  But, just in case this is not the case, we have some ideas for you.

So, friends, check back next week and buckle up as we help you prepare for the journey ahead with tips on finding a mentor!

As always, the point of these posts is to serve you and help you on your journey.  Do you know what would make them even better?  YOU!  See that little box right down there that says “Leave a Reply”?  Please leave your feedback, comments, suggestions, questions, etc. and we will do our best to incorporate your ideas and suggestions into a future post.

Until next time, look for joy in your journey so that it can find you!

Content Contributed by AZ APCO-NENA Executive Board Member Kimberly Clark, ENP “The 911 Maven”

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