Saturday, May 10, 2008


My department is in the process of hiring some rookies and sending them through the Academy. Our Academy is not a vacation - it's 20 weeks of militaristic fun... inspections, PT, yelling, more yelling, all the good things one imagines when thinking about what boot camp must be like.

Anyway, I apparently "volunteered" to be a mentor to a new recruit. I have no recollection of this spirit of volunteerism. But, I got an email from the Big Boss, telling me that she appreciates my effort and telling me which recruit is now mine to mentor for the next 22 weeks (the Academy starts in 2 weeks). I'll be responsible for making sure she's ready to pass the PT test on the first day of the Academy, getting her mentally prepared for the rigors of the Academy, and secretly providing her with all kinds of random information that will hopefully keep her out of the front leaning rest as much as possible. Great.

So, I invite the rookie, hereafter referred to as HH, to my house for dinner. I should confess that I already know her. She was an intern at one time and we have some mutual friends. Up until last night, however, we've never had a one-on-one conversation.

Also making things interesting was the issue of our mutual friend, Ed. Ed and I worked together at a City department for 6 years. We were pretty tight. I trusted him and I thought he trusted me. Our families had dinner together, threw Super Bowl parties together, etc...

When he was considering moving over to my current department, he asked me to introduce him to a influential friend of mine, SJ. SJ and I have been pretty tight for nearly 10 years. We work closely together as expert witnesses and train other new experts on a yearly basis. SJ is one of the very few people in this world that I trust almost 100%.

Before I did the introduction, I spoke to SJ about Ed and he asked me very specifically about Ed's worthiness. I vouched for Ed and SJ worked hard behind the scenes to get him hired and placed where Ed wanted to be. Up to that point, Ed had been a good friend, and I expected nothing in return for the favor I did for him. I never got a thank you from him, nor did I expect one, because I simply did what friends do for each other.

Fast forward a year, when I was being hired with my current department. Apparently, Ed decided that I was a threat to him and began dogging me behind my back at every opportunity. When it got back to me, I basically cut him out and haven't spoken to him since. Of course, his chief complaint is that I didn't "properly thank" him for all the "hard work" he did to get my hired. Which, of course, is bullshit. The one person that he has really made an effort to turn against me is SJ because he knows how influential SJ is. Fortunately, SJ has repeatedly proven himself to be loyal to me.

Fast forward yet another year, and now HH is hired. After Ed and I stopped speaking, he started "grooming" HH to get hired. She's a very beautiful young woman and very intelligent, just a little trusting when maybe she shouldn't be (but we've all had that issue). I'm sure Ed entertained some fantasies of just how HH would "thank" him when all was said and done.

HH did all of the leg work, however. She passed the PT test, the polygraph, the oral boards, etc... The only thing Ed did was introduce her to some FBI, IRS, and Secret Service agents who work in our area. He also allowed her to job shadow him on a couple of occasions. Honestly, if you were to take out everything he did for her, she would've still been hired.

When she got hired, it was like deja vu all over again for me. He freaked out on her, accusing her of the exact same things he accused me of.

So, HH and I discussed this over steak last night. One thing she said really struck me, and actually impressed me a little bit. HH said the one thing that really "breaks" her heart is that, for the past year or so, she has been believing everything Ed said about me and how evil and disloyal I was for not thanking him appropriately. But now, she said, she sees what really happened and then apologized to me for not seeing it before.

I don't know about you, but in my experience, this has never happened to me before. Usually, if I don't hit it off with someone early, that's it. But she really humbled herself and we had a good talk.

As unhappy as I was for my phantom volunteerism early on, I'm actually glad that I got assigned because I don't know if she and I would've invited her over for dinner or had that conversation.

Sorry for the long-winded post...


Berserk said...

My department doesn't do "mentors" during the academy, but then my department runs its own academy so there's more direct influence.

Looks like it worked out well in your situation, though.

DK said...

Actually, my department runs its own academy, as well. We have 4 divisions, and only the division I'm in assigns mentors for the Academy phase. Usually speaking, the mentor turns out to be that person's FTO, as well.