Expectations of Trainees
This is a post that came off the Border Patrol Hiring Answer Board
( I left everything in tact)
It seems it's time to rehash some things around here for all the new applicants out there. I've posted some things similar to what I am about to. Those of you that have read it previously please don't take offense, it's just that some things need to be brought back up occasionally, for the betterment of all. Well, here are a few rules to live by as far as applicants and trainees go.
1. Check the attitudes at the door, please. No one, in any profession, likes a know-it-all, an arrogant jerk or a malcontent. We already have plenty of all of the aforementioned in the patrol. We need people who are able, willing and ready to work. Too many trainees seem to just expect to have everything spoon-fed to them and just collect their check. We are not your mothers nor your babysitters. If you act like a mature adult, you will be treated as such. If you act like a whiner or an idiot, you will be treated as such.
On that note, all of us agents are here on OUR free time. We are here because we care and want to help applicants and trainees. Show a little respect and don't badmouth us or any stations or duties. You don't have the job yet, we do, we speak from experience and are only being honest. Also be aware of the fact that you never know who is here. There are FTO's, Academy Instructors and even PAIC's who visit this board. It's not too difficult to figure out who someone is, so watch what you say to people here or words type in hast or anger could come back to haunt you.
2. Every station is different. In the patrol, each sector is it's own kingdom and each station its own freedom. All stations have their good and bad points, but each has something to offer its agents. Make the best of what you get. With the across the board 11s, your first station will be your only station for a awhile, make an educated and informed choice about it. Don't say you're willing to go anywhere, then complain when you're offered Presidio. Every PA is not an expert at every duty we have, everyone has something about the job they enjoy. Find yours and spend as much time as you can doing that and you will find those days when your assignment is something you don't like to do, will be better.
3. Don't be afraid to get dirty and do an honest day's work. Too many trainees whine about staying late or having to hike more than a mile through the brush. These are the kinds of things we do, if you do not like it, then rethink your career choice. If you enjoy this job, then you will get an adrenaline rush while your on that "hot" sign or when you hear that sensor go off. If you just don't care, then you are a liability and danger to the rest of us and I don't need you "on my six". That said, every agent backs up the other. When the proverbial dung hits the fan, personal conflicts, grudges, etc. are put aside. We don't need petty children sitting around doing nothing to help because their feelings were hurt. I will risk my butt for the laziest slug if it means saving that person's life, you had better think the same. We are all "brothers" when it comes down to it, we are all wearing green. DO NOT EVER FORGET THAT!
4. This is a law enforcement job. We carry guns for a reason. Too many people that have come into the patrol as of late do not have an "LE mentality". You must have a survival mentality and thick skin to survive in any LE job. Always be aware of officer safety and your surroundings. I've been seeing too new many guys doing stupid things that in the wrong situations will get themselves or a fellow agent killed. When you try to correct these mistakes they get all offended and think that journeymen are all know-it-all crusty old men. If that's what you think, then fine, just don't make those mistakes around me, I want to go home at the end of the shift. Every day when you go to work, you need to be cognizant of the fact that you may have to kill someone, or someone will try to kill you, DO NOT FORGET THAT.....EVER!
On the same tangent, eagerness to work is fine, just don't do stupid things or rush into situations without thinking and prior planning. No load of aliens or dope is worth you losing your life. Never be afraid to tactically advance to the rear and wait for back-up if the situation does not feel right. No one will think any less of you. A dead hero is no good to the rest of us, we want you to be at muster the next day.
5. The patrol DOES NOT care what you did before you got here. I agree that that's not always the right attitude, but many people here feel that way. Once you are off probation you can do things anyway you want, until then keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open. That is the only way you will learn. You can learn something from every journeyman and FTO, including the slugs. So pay attention. The patrol is also seniority based. Therefore, there are guys less qualified than you who will get cool details while you’re still sitting on your X. Don't worry about it, your time will come. The agents before you waited for their turn, so can you. Never go home at the end of shift without having learned something that day or you just wasted it.
6. Our job is to deter, detect and apprehend illegal persons and contraband between ports-of-entry. We are not the DEA, Customs or the FBI. Nor are we the Navy SEALS, Army Rangers, etc. Our primary mission is to catch aliens, dope is a secondary bonus. If you have any problems with that, then once again, you need to rethink your career choice. This agency is a great stepping stone. There are probably ex-PAs in every LE office in the federal government. That said, do not come here thinking you will be going home in your G-ride, conducting white-collaring crime investigations and undercover stings or that you will be "transferring" to Quantico tomorrow. If you really have your heart set on being an FBI agent, then do that. Don't show up at my station and complain about the work, duty, assignments, etc. You read the same job description we all did, you knew what you were getting into. If you didn't, then that is your own fault, not the patrols.
7. I haven't seen this one in a while, but it's bound to re-appear at some point. The vacancy announcement says "first duty assignment will be on the Southwest, U.S./Mexican border". There are no exceptions. No trainees are going to upstate NY or Washington any time soon. It's also going to take in the neighborhood of 7 years to get up North or to Florida. So if you are unwilling to move to the border, do yourself and your family a favor and apply for jobs that are in your area. The border is a different world and not a place that everyone likes. I said it before, make educated and informed decisions. If your wife and kids are unhappy, you will be too.
8. Your trip to EOD is on your dollar, as is your initial move to your duty station. You can claim those expenses on your taxes, so save the receipts. That's the way it's always been and probably always will be. Crying about it will do you no good. There are people in this job who gave up everything they had to get this job and move.
I suppose that's enough ranting for one post. I don't mean to come across as harsh or crass. I'm just trying to give everyone the no BS picture of things. I'm sure some other agents will have plenty to add and I hope they do put "the pen to paper" and post it here. To all you applicant’s good luck and I'm sure all of agents look forward to working with you in the future.