Power and glory

There’s something I’ve never understood in life: the desire for power and control for their own sake and not as a pleasant byproduct of added responsibility.

A young gentleman that I was talking to the other day mentioned to me that he hated not being in control – not having any power. I’m not sure how it came up, but we had just been talking about his brother, is being sent to Iraq in early January. Eventually talk got around to the danger involved in being in Iraq, and he said that he liked the idea of being in charge, of having a gun and stuff like that. Then he said seven words that started my wheels rolling.

“That’s why I want to be a cop.”

There are a lot of reasons to go into the law enforcement business: maybe you’re the type of person who always followed the rules and hates to see anyone take advantage of the system, or maybe you’ve been wronged in the past and you have a desire to execute justice – to make sure that the lawful and respectful are kept safe. Maybe you’re just mindful of how dangerous of a world it is and recognize that order must be kept in order for out lives to be free of fear.

The thing that I’m afraid of is that there is a group of people that choose their job solely for the power and control that is offered by it. I assume this is what leads to the scandals and crookedness that we see so often in the law enforcement field, in politics, and in the courts.

I know that in my managerial role I’ve taken numerous surveys that ask the question “do you have a desire to get back at someone,” or have read a reminder that begs “do not use this position to exact revenge on a co-worker/resident/customer.” This is all common sense to me. I took these positions because I was getting added responsibility, because it afforded me a little more income-wise, and because I enjoy doing a wide and varied amount of things rather than the same lower-level tasks.

I never took a managerial position because I wanted more power. In fact, if you ask anyone I know, I’ve mentioned that I’d rather do what I do without the power, without the responsibility of being “in charge.” That’s not an option, and so I do what I can to become a better manager. I don’t, however, do what I can to gain more power or control.

I understand that others are different, but I just think it’s a hard thing to swallow – the idea that there are people out there that want to become cops, or judges, or politicians simply for the power that they will accrue.

As if the perusal of a smooth running system and safe city streets aren’t motivation enough.

This was lovingly handwritten on December 29th, 2005