From Probation Officer To Account Manager
Up until three years ago, I was in a felony adult probation office working with high-risk offenders. I had been doing this job since graduating college. It was all I had known, and I loved it — at times.
When I first started in this field, I was all gung-ho and didn’t care what the person’s excuse was for violating probation. I just knew that they violated their court-ordered rules, and they were being sent back before the judge to receive their punishment, whatever that may be. Looking back, I was young and naive and lacked empathy. I hate to admit that, but it’s true. I mean, it was hard at times. The job was stressful, and telling adults what to do did not go over so well. To be on probation, one has clearly disregarded the rules.
As the field of probation evolved to more evidence-based practices, I, too, evolved. Prison or jail is not always the best answer, but in my opinion, rehabilitation is. I learned how to listen and communicate better to help address the person’s needs. I empathize more by listening to their stories. Building a rapport and getting to know the individual really mattered and helped. Now, this did not always work, of course, but one successful completion case made it worth the time and effort. Sometimes you just need someone in your corner. Why not your probation officer?
So, how have I parlayed my probation officer experience into my current position as an account manager at First Flight?
Well, what I’ve learned as a newcomer to the marketing world is the skills I’ve acquired as a probation officer are directly related. Building rapport and getting to know your clients is essential. Communication and listening are key priorities in addressing/anticipating your clients’ needs. It seems so simple, but these skills are important and ring true in most professions. It’s what successful professional relationships are made of.