Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Law Enforcement to Corporate Security: Sometimes, They Don’t Know What They Don’t Know


A Police Officer with a college degree from a military service academy and less than 10 years devoted to a law enforcement career reached out to a business-focused career coach because she knows that she knows nothing about working in the private sector.  She has been successful in her law enforcement career, but she knows it is time to move on to a career in the corporate security sector.  She told the career coach that she simply didn’t know where to start to make her career transition a reality.

When asked what she specifically wanted to do next, she was honest. She said she didn’t really know what kinds of opportunities were available to her and she didn’t know how to package herself to become appealing to the decision makers that stood between where she was currently and the new career direction she’d like to pursue.

The police officer decided to invest in herself.  She invested in an hour of highly focused coaching.  The result after the police officer’s first hour of coaching produced this thank you note to the career coach.

“Thank you very much for the resume coaching session today.  I have to say I wasn’t fully sure what to expect from this session and, in fact, was simply hoping to take a step forward in my pursuit towards a new career.  The coaching session went above and beyond what I thought was possible, and left me with a new found sense of confidence and vision of what I need to do to move forward.  I look forward to making use of your advice and speaking with you again.  I feel that a future now exists for me beyond law enforcement and I now have an idea of how to make it happen.  Thank you again.”


The same day, a Federal Agent made contact with the same career coach.  He indicated that he wanted help with his resume, but when he found out that there was a professional services fee attached to getting help with his resume, he declined to move forward.  The Federal Agent has three times as much experience in his Federal Agency as the Police Officer has in her law enforcement agency and he was likely earning two times what the police officer was earning.  Besides the difference in career tenure and specifically where these to law enforcement professionals perform their jobs, there is a significant difference that separates these two potential corporate security professionals.

The Police Officer recognized that there are things she doesn’t know. She recognized that finding someone who can coach her through her inevitable learning curve could be worth every penny of the investment, provided that she finds the right coach.

The Federal Agent, on the other hand, demonstrated that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.  Just like the Police Officer, he has never before worked in a business.  He doesn’t know how to package his first career accomplishments and contributions properly in order to stand out from the crowd and to connect with decision makers in the business. He is very likely unaware of the learning curve that awaits him when he actually lands a job in a business setting.  Meeting this learning curve with a strategic plan like the Police Officer will would be in the Federal Agent’s best interest, but he doesn’t think he needs help. 

Think of yourself as a business.  Determine what you are great at or what you have the potential to be great at.  Then, outsource what you’re not great at to someone who can bring immediate value to you.  This is what highly productive and highly successful people do all the time.


Engaging the help of a coach to crush a learning curve that is not your expertise is an outstanding idea.  The best athletes in the world all have coaches.  The best coaches in the world have coaches too.

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