Author Topic: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?  (Read 8445 times)

AttorneyInPDX

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Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« on: April 28, 2017, 01:35:41 PM »
Hello, Mustachians --

I want to quit my law firm job, where I earn about $120k a year (gross plus bonus), because I hate pushing paper for the highest bidder and don't really care about my clients' problems.  What I really want to do is be a police officer.  It would chop my pay in half (and because I have two small kids and student loans, I can't afford to make the jump for 3 years -- that's when day care goes way down and the student loans will be vanquished), but I would be doing something I actually feel passionate about. 

My wife works in accounting and makes about $80k a year.  If we stay the course, we will be FI in 8-ish years with the house totally paid off.  We're 30 now.  We've been full-throttle MMM since 2013 and run a lean ship (beginning three years from now, and until FI, we project to have annual expenses of $30,000 inclusive of our mortgage -- however, our current monthly expenses are considerably higher, because of (1) paying off my student loans; (2) paying back my loan for the home down payment; (3) paying for day care expenses; and (4) paying for child support), so there isn't much in the way of additional expense-slashing to shorten that 8-10 year time frame.  (At least, not much if I want to stay married :)  My wife isn't quite as fanatical as me about squeezing every last penny till it screams). 

Do you, the wise Mustachians, have any thoughts/suggestions/feedback?  Keeping my job is OK, I guess -- I don't hate it, but I have to force myself every day to hit my hours and do all the other crap a young associate has to do -- but I'm not sure it's worth FIRE at 38 or 40 to live a simulacrum of life for the next 8-10 years.  Has anybody specifically quit a high-paying job to go be a police officer?  What's that like?

I welcome your thoughts and help.  Thank you!!
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 02:45:49 PM by AttorneyInPDX »

TheAnonOne

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2017, 01:40:20 PM »
I didn't see it but how much would that delay FI?

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AttorneyInPDX

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2017, 01:47:36 PM »
@TheAnonOne -- Good question, and the short answer is "it's hard to tell this far in advance."  Conservatively, it would likely mean FIRE in our late 40s instead of our late 30s.  It would likely be faster, but my wife and I have conservatively discussed it as being an additional 10 years of work, because there are a few too many moving parts to have a more precise estimate.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2017, 01:52:02 PM »
@TheAnonOne -- Good question, and the short answer is "it's hard to tell this far in advance."  Conservatively, it would likely mean FIRE in our late 40s instead of our late 30s.  It would likely be faster, but my wife and I have conservatively discussed it as being an additional 10 years of work, because there are a few too many moving parts to have a more precise estimate.
That's a very high price to pay, a decade of work can ruin any love for a job you might have..

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GhostSaver

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2017, 02:00:39 PM »
Have you considered easing off the law firm job to do something else? I know that a lot of state and local pds tie up a lot of the compensation in a pension, and the burnout rate can be high.

What about going to work for your local county or city as an attorney? Some federal LEO jobs will value a JD as well, though you might have to relocate. What are you looking to get out of working as a police officer?

AttorneyInPDX

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2017, 02:01:05 PM »

That's a very high price to pay, a decade of work can ruin any love for a job you might have..

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[/quote]

No doubt.  If I make the jump at 33, it's 12-15 years of work doing something I have always wanted to do and feel passionate about, compared to 5-7 years of work doing something that's tolerable (albeit barely) and that I don't care about at all.  I've been wrestling with the trade-off for months. :/

starguru

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2017, 02:06:35 PM »
Don't police typically get a pension?  Don't forget to include that in your calculations.


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marielle

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2017, 02:12:03 PM »
Doesn't sound like a bad idea, especially if your expenses will go down even lower than $30k as you've said. You will still have a very high household income compared to the average, and you will still have a very HIGH savings rate even with the large drop in income. Even with only your wife working your savings rate is great! Will your FIRE plans really take twice as long, even if you make the jump in 3 years after student loans and daycare go away? With the incomes stated it doesn't seem like it would really take that much longer, especially considering your tax rate will go down so the difference isn't quite as large.

Hargrove

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2017, 02:28:02 PM »
This doesn't add up. You said you have 8-10 years left to FI and "can't afford" to drop to 140k annual household income because daycare costs (included in 30k annual expenses...) would be "too much."

750k covers retirement for 30k worth of expenses. MMM since 2013... I can't figure it out unless you have 2 million dollars in student loans that you didn't count in annual expenses, or your annual expenses are different. Or, your FI number is MUCH higher than your expenses and also not taking into account that you won't have a mortgage payment eventually.

A stache of 375k today would be 750k on its own in 10 years. A stache of 200k would be 400k, before adding 60k/year savings as a cop you'd have still over 750k. And a pension.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 02:34:53 PM by Hargrove »

AttorneyInPDX

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2017, 02:35:12 PM »
Have you considered easing off the law firm job to do something else? I know that a lot of state and local pds tie up a lot of the compensation in a pension, and the burnout rate can be high.

What about going to work for your local county or city as an attorney? Some federal LEO jobs will value a JD as well, though you might have to relocate. What are you looking to get out of working as a police officer?

All good questions.  (1) Yup, considered changing jobs to another lawyer job that's not as high stress.  Decided against it b/c fundamentally, I don't like being a lawyer, and as far as being a lawyer goes, I have a good gig -- good comp, good people, decent work-life balance.  (2) Can't relocate because my son lives with his mom most of the time, and I need to be where he is in order to be involved with his life.  (3) Went to law school to be an FBI agent -- wanted to do some good for people that really need it.  Would like the action, like feeling like I'm making a difference, would like to use my discretion as an LEO in a very different way than the police officers I've encountered, particularly with marginalized groups. 

Don't police typically get a pension?  Don't forget to include that in your calculations.


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You're absolutely right.  But it's linked to years of service and you can't start drawing on it until you reach "retirement age," which is 55 or 25 years of service, and I'm sure not working that long.  So I'm intellectualizing it more as a SS kind of income where it's not really impacting my FIRE calcs.

Doesn't sound like a bad idea, especially if your expenses will go down even lower than $30k as you've said. You will still have a very high household income compared to the average, and you will still have a very HIGH savings rate even with the large drop in income. Even with only your wife working your savings rate is great! Will your FIRE plans really take twice as long, even if you make the jump in 3 years after student loans and daycare go away? With the incomes stated it doesn't seem like it would really take that much longer, especially considering your tax rate will go down so the difference isn't quite as large.

Thanks for your kind words!! My explanation wasn't particularly good.  I should have said that in 3 YEARS, that's what our annual expenses will roughly be.  Right now, because I'm paying (1) monthly child support of $1,250 for my son; (2) monthly day care of $1,250 for my daughter; (3) a monthly $950 payment to repay a loan from my parents for the down payment on the house; and (4) $2,000 on my student loan, we have considerable overhead.  Our savings will start turbocharging in three years when CS goes down, DC virtually disappears, and the down payment loan and student loan are paid off.  Our savings rate is about 50% now, but it's virtually all debt repayment.  It'll jump to 65%-70% in three years and we'll actually start accumulating assets.  From ages 33 to 38 we project to pay off the remaining $300k balance on the mortgage and stash another $250k in taxable accounts.  But those projections are based on increases in income/bonuses that I would receive in my law firm job but would not receive as a police officer, hence why it would take significantly longer as a cop.

AttorneyInPDX

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2017, 02:40:16 PM »
This doesn't add up. You said you have 8-10 years left to FI and "can't afford" to drop to 140k annual household income because daycare costs (included in 30k annual expenses...) would be "too much."

750k covers retirement for 30k worth of expenses. MMM since 2013... I can't figure it out unless you have 2 million dollars in student loans that you didn't count in annual expenses, or your annual expenses are different. Or, your FI number is MUCH higher than your expenses and also not taking into account that you won't have a mortgage payment eventually.

A stache of 375k today would be 750k on its own in 10 years. A stache of 200k would be 400k, before adding 60k/year savings as a cop you'd have still over 750k. And a pension.

You're right, my explanation re: current expenses was muddled at best.  My non-student-loan, non-mortgage-down-payment-loan, non-daycare, non-child-support expenses (that is, my annual household expenses as projected AT FIRE) are $30k.  That includes our mortgage, utilities, groceries, medical, etc. etc. etc.   But right NOW, because I'm paying $2,500 a month in (temporary) child-related costs, and $3,000 a month in paying off my law school loans and the house down payment loan, my monthly expenses are considerably higher.  That's why I can't leave the law job for at least 3 years -- 3 years from now, all of these issues will be gone or dramatically reduced, at which point I can take the big pay cut if I want.

lhamo

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2017, 02:46:45 PM »
Do you have specific knowledge about what it is like to be a beat cop that leads you to believe this is the life for you, in spite of the lower salary and higher risk?   Is that the only option you are considering?  You mentioned FBI -- assume that route is already out of the question for some reason.   But aren't there other positions in law enforcement that might make use of your legal background and allow you to come in at a higher pay scale?   I'm not saying you shouldn't pursue the change, but maybe thinking more broadly about the options will help you find a route into law enforcement that doesn't have to mean such a big pay cut.

For example, something like this job investigating possible health care fraud looks interesting -- no idea what it would pay, but should be less risky than being a beat cop:

https://qualityhealthstrategies-openhire.silkroad.com/epostings/index.cfm?fuseaction=app.dspjob&jobid=740&company_id=16852&version=1&jobBoardId=3338

jeromedawg

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2017, 03:14:43 PM »
FWIW: I know of a guy who did exactly what you are considering doing (not in terms of FI/RE as far as I can tell), but he was an attorney who ended up becoming a police officer. I believe he first spent a good amount of time volunteering for the PD as well. Sorry I can't be of much help otherwise, as I don't know his finances etc.

JLee

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2017, 03:15:51 PM »
I was in law enforcement from 2006-2011 and now make over twice as much in IT.  I miss it sometimes, but given the political climate I am glad I am out.  I have thoughts about going back, but only part time and I'd be selective about where I went.

Keep in mind how the schedule will affect your family life. Working nights/weekends isn't a big deal when you're single, but I'm not sure I'd want that with a family.

Don't police typically get a pension?  Don't forget to include that in your calculations.


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Not if you retire early.

AttorneyInPDX

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2017, 04:16:17 PM »
Do you have specific knowledge about what it is like to be a beat cop that leads you to believe this is the life for you, in spite of the lower salary and higher risk?   Is that the only option you are considering?  You mentioned FBI -- assume that route is already out of the question for some reason.   But aren't there other positions in law enforcement that might make use of your legal background and allow you to come in at a higher pay scale?   I'm not saying you shouldn't pursue the change, but maybe thinking more broadly about the options will help you find a route into law enforcement that doesn't have to mean such a big pay cut.

For example, something like this job investigating possible health care fraud looks interesting -- no idea what it would pay, but should be less risky than being a beat cop:

https://qualityhealthstrategies-openhire.silkroad.com/epostings/index.cfm?fuseaction=app.dspjob&jobid=740&company_id=16852&version=1&jobBoardId=3338

More good questions.  This is exactly what I was hoping for from this wonderful community, thank you.  Yes, one of my cousins, who I've always been very close with, has been a beat cop for 15+ years and loves it.  I have gone on 10+ ridealongs with him, talked to him about it ad nauseam, and basically live vicariously through his stories every chance I get. I'm an extremely physically active person so sitting at my desk for 9-10 hours per day as an attorney sucks.  I've thought about "police-like" occupational changes like what you're talking about, but that just seems like trading one kind of paper-pushing for another.  I'd much rather be out on the streets actively helping folks on a day-to-day basis.

I was in law enforcement from 2006-2011 and now make over twice as much in IT.  I miss it sometimes, but given the political climate I am glad I am out.  I have thoughts about going back, but only part time and I'd be selective about where I went.

Keep in mind how the schedule will affect your family life. Working nights/weekends isn't a big deal when you're single, but I'm not sure I'd want that with a family.

Don't police typically get a pension?  Don't forget to include that in your calculations.


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Not if you retire early.

I would love it if you could elaborate on your experiences as an LEO and contrasting with your current occupation.  Anything you have to add would be incredibly helpful. 

FWIW: I know of a guy who did exactly what you are considering doing (not in terms of FI/RE as far as I can tell), but he was an attorney who ended up becoming a police officer. I believe he first spent a good amount of time volunteering for the PD as well. Sorry I can't be of much help otherwise, as I don't know his finances etc.

I feel like the finances will work themselves out so I'm not as worried about FIRE if I'm working to do something I love, and by the time I'd be quitting the law 3 years from now I'd be very well positioned financially anyway (only debt would be the mortgage and have about $250k in 401ks and another $75k in individual Vanguard accounts).  Did your friend like it?  Dislike it?  Rue the day he left?  Wish he'd jumped way sooner? 

Blatant

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2017, 09:20:36 PM »
Don't police typically get a pension?  Don't forget to include that in your calculations.


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Not if you retire early.
[/quote]

Depends on the state/agency. In Arizona, all the money that comes out of your check is your money. If you quit prior to full retirement, you get a lump-sum payout plus the matching agency contribution (100% match once you're vested at 10 years service).

jeromedawg

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2017, 09:36:59 PM »
I feel like the finances will work themselves out so I'm not as worried about FIRE if I'm working to do something I love, and by the time I'd be quitting the law 3 years from now I'd be very well positioned financially anyway (only debt would be the mortgage and have about $250k in 401ks and another $75k in individual Vanguard accounts).  Did your friend like it?  Dislike it?  Rue the day he left?  Wish he'd jumped way sooner?

I may be mistaken. I think he might be actively practicing AND a full-time officer. How he might be doing all that simultaneously? I have *no* idea... maybe he's on a graveyard shift OR he practices law on more of a 'consultant' basis where he doesn't need to be in the office, etc? He's actually just a Faacebook friend and I haven't talked to him a whole lot - just know that he was an attorney, then got into law enforcement 5-6 years ago, and seems to be doing both now. It doesn't seem like he has any regrets with anything he's been up to.

chasesfish

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2017, 06:20:33 AM »
I say if you have that itch, scratch it.  You'll always wonder if you don't do it.

I worked with a good dude who was in the same situation so he went to be a cop for 2 years.  It wasn't a great choice economically, but he's glad he did it

researcher1

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2017, 08:54:46 AM »
I'm an extremely physically active person so sitting at my desk for 9-10 hours per day as an attorney sucks.

So you'd rather spend 9-10 hours per day sitting in a police car?

JLee

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2017, 03:03:29 PM »
Depends on the state/agency. In Arizona, all the money that comes out of your check is your money. If you quit prior to full retirement, you get a lump-sum payout plus the matching agency contribution (100% match once you're vested at 10 years service).

Yes, you'll get a lump sum payout but not a pension.  Mine paid out about $22k after 3.5 years.

JLee

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2017, 04:23:29 PM »
I would love it if you could elaborate on your experiences as an LEO and contrasting with your current occupation.  Anything you have to add would be incredibly helpful. 

Anything specific you'd like to know?  I had a bit of a wild ride for a while...started part time in late 2006, was hired full time at a different agency in Sept 2007, completed FTO and the full time academy and was laid off 3 weeks later.  I went to another department and was hired in a matter of weeks, and worked there for ~3.5 years until I decided I wanted to move to Arizona. My intention was to continue in LE out there, but nobody was hiring and I ended up working security for a while during the LE application/testing processes. Nothing panned out and I was talked into giving IT a shot as a career (good friend basically said what do you have to lose, and he was right).

I've been in IT for 4.5 years now (man the time has flown by).  I have a cushy desk job, make over twice what I did when I left my last agency in 2011, and have a much more flexible schedule.

I still miss it sometimes, but with my priorities trending towards financial independence (and thoroughly enjoying having weekends off), I don't see myself going back.  Part time in the future is still on the table, but I have a feeling I'll find myself so busy with other things that I won't end up going back at all.

That said, I have no regrets of the time I spent in law enforcement. It was a valuable experience and I feel that it gave me a different perspective that's benefited me in other ways, and if I had never gone for it I would have always wished that I did. My plan going in was to spend 3-5 years with a local department and then reevaluate, see if I wanted to go federal, etc.  I quit at 4 years and 10 months...just ended up going in a different direction than I initially planned.

If you can find a tightly-knit professional department that respects its officers and the citizens they serve, it can be an awesome experience.

Inaya

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2017, 04:26:23 PM »
Sorry if you mentioned this and I just missed it, but have you also considered your kids' education? Depending how much you want to contribute monetarily (I know some parents take a "my kids pay for their own education" approach, while others plan to pay for their kids' educations 100%), it may impact how much you will need to save.

Left

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2017, 06:14:28 PM »
you would be pretty old to start being a police officer since they start at the bottom without experience

why not be a law enforcement attorney? it would be a mesh of the two careers

something not mentioned? You hate pushing paper, but don't most police push paper unless they are out being traffic control/etc. Are you sure you know what being a police officer is like?Why not volunteer for a PD first during the 3 years until you pay it off, gives better odds to being hired as well

spjulep

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2017, 06:25:16 PM »
Quote
I feel like the finances will work themselves out so I'm not as worried about FIRE if I'm working to do something I love,

Sounds like you've already had a good taste of what the job would be like. Live the life you want! You seem well positioned financially, anyways.

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2017, 06:35:52 PM »
Look into federal probation.  The investigations side is JD preferred.  Any LEO role will require you to go to an academy for 6-22 weeks depending on your department.  Some don't even allow you access to your cell phone.  Are you okay being no-contact with your family that long? No judgment, just something to think about.

JLee

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2017, 06:54:29 PM »
Look into federal probation.  The investigations side is JD preferred.  Any LEO role will require you to go to an academy for 6-22 weeks depending on your department.  Some don't even allow you access to your cell phone.  Are you okay being no-contact with your family that long? No judgment, just something to think about.

As a data point, mine was 12 weeks, live-in Monday through Friday.  We had allotted time on Wednesday evenings for cell phone use and went home for weekends. They're up to 16 weeks now (I was in NH).

SheepDog

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2017, 12:25:05 PM »
I'd say you need to figure out the reasons why you want to be LEO.  Is it something you've always thought was "cool" and you want to carry a gun and badge around?  Or is being a public servant, risking your life for complete strangers on a daily basis and giving up a lot of family time such as weekends and holidays off all while getting underpaid a lifelong dream of yours?

Doing LEO work is a lifestyle and mindset, not just a career or job to collect a paycheck.  Guys who are just in it for the money or "status" are the ones who get burned out or simply wash out.  It is not a career for everyone. 

I've been a LEO for 6 years now, started at the young, naive age of 21.  I love the work but it gets harder and harder everyday to go in with the dramatic social shift that's been happening in the USA for the past several years.  We are expected to be more of a social worker than a law enforcer.

That said, it is a unique job and you get to experience a lot of stuff other people can only dream of.  You truly do get a "front row seat to the best show on the planet."  We as a profession always need new talent eager for the challenge.  What we don't need are people who are in it for the wrong reasons or who think "Hey, cops are cool, I wan't to do that too."  Those guys aren't gonna make it most of the time.

If you truly think you want to make the jump, then go for it and embrace the wild ride!  But this is not just a simple career change, there's a lot more to it.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2017, 03:22:16 PM »
I want to quit my law firm job, where I earn about $120k a year (gross plus bonus), because I hate pushing paper for the highest bidder and don't really care about my clients' problems. . . .

If we stay the course, we will be FI in 8-ish years with the house totally paid off. . . .

Do you, the wise Mustachians, have any thoughts/suggestions/feedback?  Keeping my job is OK, I guess -- I don't hate it, but I have to force myself every day to hit my hours and do all the other crap a young associate has to do -- but I'm not sure it's worth FIRE at 38 or 40 to live a simulacrum of life for the next 8-10 years. . . .

Hi, PDX, I'm an attorney who worked in a big law firm for about 8.5 years, when I quit last year to reconnect with family, travel, enjoy life, etc.  While I obviously don't know your firm specifically, based on my experience with my firm and what I've learned from my attorney friends at other firms in my city and around the country, I wouldn't count on another 8-10 years at your same firm as a safe bet.  Typically, as an associate becomes more senior, the firm is looking for him/her to expand time spent on networking and developing business, in addition to doing the actual legal work.  It is a tough grind to work on developing business and to act as if you really want to become a partner, when in reality that is not what you want at all.  Over time, the firm's leaders will want to see the associate demonstrating a passion for this career and throwing their life force into making partner.  If that's not something you want -- it wasn't what I wanted either -- it is very draining to fake it for years.  In any event, I would expect that by 8-10 years out of law school, your firm will be looking to you to commit to partnership or to move along.  I don't know how many years you already have under your belt, but this is something you should take into account.  If you really don't enjoy your job and don't have the passion, I can't imagine you making it in the firm beyond 3 or 4 years total, maybe 5 or 6 if you're lucky.  All this said, in my mind, this is a point in favor of you leaving this job to pursue the LEO career.

gerardc

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2017, 04:57:03 PM »
Serious case of "the grass is always greener" in this thread. Pretty sure you'll regret it less than 2 weeks in your new job.

The Money Monk

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2017, 12:38:19 AM »
have you thought about federal law enforcement, specifically FBI?

Law experience is something they value pretty highly as a background, and the pay is much higher than a police officer. Only complication is you could be required to move.

Other than that though, what I would suggest is to find out exactly what a cop in your area would be making, and live as if you are making that much for the next 6 months to a year. See how easy/hard it actually is see what you have to change. Also do as much as you can to experience the day to day realities of being a cop. Make sure you really would enjoy it. Standing at an intersection directing traffic all day may make you long for the days you were making twice as much sitting in a chair in an air conditioned office.

And since you don't actually HATE your current job, I think giving up that much money is very significant. I think I would try to stick it out as long as possible, and save like a madman, every possible penny. That always puts you in a better position to do whatever you want or need to do in the future.

Good luck!

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #30 on: May 01, 2017, 07:02:10 AM »
I'm an attorney, so I can sympathize with hating pushing paper for clients you don't care about. I've thought about other career options for a while now as well.

That said, I would caution you a little on your itch to become a police officer. My older brother is a police officer, and it takes quite a long time until you are out patrolling in a car full time. My brother spent a year or so volunteering and in the police academy, and has spent the past 3-4 years working in the city jail. This is where all the LEO start because it's the bottom rung. He makes shit money and works the worst shifts imaginable (6PM to 10AM sometimes). It was not until this past year (4-5 years on the job) that he started patrolling part time, and even that is way out in the boons with little going on.

You should talk with local police officers about where the bottom rung is and how long you'll be there, because that might be where you'll be for a long time.

Blatant

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2017, 07:26:03 AM »
The above is certainly true with some agencies. Those are typically county sheriffs who also run county jail systems. However, it's not the norm. If you can get hired, it's typically academy-field training-solo patrol in that order. Expect to be pushing a car by yourself in most agencies in less than a year.

For everyone suggesting federal: Great suggestions given the OPs background. However, he clearly stated he cannot move due to family issues, which takes all fed agencies off the table.

charis

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2017, 09:08:03 AM »
I definitely know someone who did this.  He was only a lawyer for about 3 or 4 years.  He rose to major crimes investigator and switched careers again.   I second the federal probation suggestion as well. 

You can do this, for sure, if you are passionate about it.  There will be big sacrifices in the beginning.  Since you became a lawyer with the desire to do law enforcement, I don't see this is as a case of "the grass is always greener." 

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2017, 09:34:22 AM »
The above is certainly true with some agencies. Those are typically county sheriffs who also run county jail systems. However, it's not the norm. If you can get hired, it's typically academy-field training-solo patrol in that order. Expect to be pushing a car by yourself in most agencies in less than a year.

For everyone suggesting federal: Great suggestions given the OPs background. However, he clearly stated he cannot move due to family issues, which takes all fed agencies off the table.

Fed probation does not require a mobility waiver or relocation so long as you live within commuting distance of your hiring district.  You will have to live away for your academy (shorter than most police academies) and occasional work travel but you will have access to your phone and internet during that time.

It's a competitive job and can be hard to get.  You might need to apply more than once to get it.

BikeFanatic

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2017, 01:00:11 PM »
I think you should do it, you will be a Great cop and we need more of those. And you have a chance to follow your dream and you are young, many people change careers around age 35. My cop friends all have great pensions and it is often tired by how long your career is for example my cop neighbor retired at 40 and gets a pension, less than if he retired at 55.

dorf

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #35 on: May 01, 2017, 03:04:24 PM »
Why not try to become a Police Reserve Officer or Auxiliary Officer.  These positions cover all the training required to be a Police officer but are usually on a voluntary basis.  The positions are unpaid or with some contingencies, paid without benefits.  Shaquile O'Neil seems to enjoy working as a cop and has done something similar in a few jurisdictions.  I've met a number of folks who come from pretty normal backgrounds and choose to help out their local agencies by becoming involved as Reserve/Auxiliary. 

Not the same thing as changing careers but would give you more to base such a decision on.

My first two weeks as a cop I felt like a secretary with a gun.  I learned how to become more proactive and catch "real" bad guys that was a lot more fun but also a lot more paperwork.  I wonder if the same thing applies to working as a lawyer.


Chaplin

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2017, 10:28:44 PM »
Why not try to become a Police Reserve Officer or Auxiliary Officer.  These positions cover all the training required to be a Police officer but are usually on a voluntary basis.

Exactly what I was going to suggest as I was reading through this thread.

A family member had a long-term dream of becoming a police officer, finally succeeded and after a few years is now on stress leave after having been thrown into the nastiest policing environment around from day 1. He's now ambivalent about going back, but the background and training can open doors in other areas. Still, I'm sure that 95% of the time we'll regret the things we didn't try and the opportunities we passed up, more than the certainties we took.

TimmyTightWad

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2017, 01:25:53 PM »
Don't sleep on police salaries. Assuming you live in a city, it's usually a union job with plenty of overtime opportunities. Plenty of detectives in my city make over $200k. Friend of mine is a sergeant with a family (so assuming not that much OT) and he makes the same as I do (sr.software engineer).
The earning potential (in major cities at least) is very underrated.

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #38 on: May 03, 2017, 02:59:50 PM »
Don't sleep on police salaries. Assuming you live in a city, it's usually a union job with plenty of overtime opportunities. Plenty of detectives in my city make over $200k. Friend of mine is a sergeant with a family (so assuming not that much OT) and he makes the same as I do (sr.software engineer).
The earning potential (in major cities at least) is very underrated.

There are also HUGE discrepancies in police salaries town to town.  Do you research before applying everywhere that has an opening.

JLee

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #39 on: May 03, 2017, 03:32:04 PM »
Don't sleep on police salaries. Assuming you live in a city, it's usually a union job with plenty of overtime opportunities. Plenty of detectives in my city make over $200k. Friend of mine is a sergeant with a family (so assuming not that much OT) and he makes the same as I do (sr.software engineer).
The earning potential (in major cities at least) is very underrated.

There are also HUGE discrepancies in police salaries town to town.  Do you research before applying everywhere that has an opening.

I live in northern NJ, a few miles from Manhattan (i.e. HCOL).  My local agency starts at under $40k...

TimmyTightWad

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #40 on: May 03, 2017, 03:57:02 PM »



I live in northern NJ, a few miles from Manhattan (i.e. HCOL).  My local agency starts at under $40k...

Except for San francisco (and maybe nypd) i think most police departments start off in that 40-45k range
it's a long play. My friend is in his early-mid 30s and has been with his department almost a decade already. With job security, pension, and almost zero health insurance costs etc it's not bad compared to even some white collar occupations

JLee

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #41 on: May 03, 2017, 04:11:16 PM »



I live in northern NJ, a few miles from Manhattan (i.e. HCOL).  My local agency starts at under $40k...

Except for San francisco (and maybe nypd) i think most police departments start off in that 40-45k range
it's a long play. My friend is in his early-mid 30s and has been with his department almost a decade already. With job security, pension, and almost zero health insurance costs etc it's not bad compared to even some white collar occupations

It's funny you mention that...I was laid off from my first full time police department job 3 weeks out of the academy (budget cuts).  Once you're no longer the new guy, you'd be a lot safer.

aetheldrea

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Re: Quit my high-paying job to become a cop?
« Reply #42 on: May 04, 2017, 08:07:03 PM »
One of my friends from high school always wanted to be cop, his dad was a cop. But he wasn't hired anywhere he applied be cause he wasn't a big enough assho... I mean he didn't fit the psychological profile they were looking for. (He ended up as a park ranger in Tahoe, which sounds way better to me.)
So even if you quit your job because you want to be a cop, there is no guarantee that you will be hired, no matter how bad you want it.