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Correctional Officers – Being Selfish is a Good Thing
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 02/24/2014

Moral compass As public servants we are taught to be unselfish and devoted to public needs and demands while giving up some of our own and do so generously. Now, I don’t have a problem with being a good public servant and my service record will reflect I cooperated generously and unselfishly towards the common good we often talk about in the criminal justice system. The fact remains we are born being selfish and that’s a fact.

There need not be a conflict between society’s needs and your own. One can give generously and still receive sufficient self-gratification to be satisfied with your desires socially and culturally. It does, after all is said, boost your morale and the morale of others. Being selfish creates a personal incentive to excel or do better in life if kept in perspective. The trick is to align or merge your selfishness with those demands of your organization, stockholders, and community.

Law enforcement personnel aligned with their work, joint self- development and performance are positive attributes for others to benefit from thus it should never be taken away or criticized when it appears to be balanced in nature and actions. I think it’s fair to say that it is the organization that benefits the most when an employee seeks to excel and shares or gives those benefits to the job and team. Together they will work steadfast for mutual gains as well as a motivator for noble morale. The reasons for this is clear - Good morale and a motivated employee will:

  • Enhance the mission of the agency as both parties are satisfied with job and performance levels.
  • Discourage chaos or disorder and impact his or her disciplinary record by being in harmony with agency expectations or mission statement.
  • Encourage a closer look [related to background check, educational history and prior work history credibility] by the agency to see if person can be considered for promotional opportunities [after probationary periods are completed]
  • Become an asset to the organization and treated as such to maintain value as a positive asset
  • Begin a self-development assessment for future opportunities and align with workplace opportunities
  • Keep them fresh and avoid a “burnout” status by staying healthy and alert mentally and physically
  • Assuring agency cooperation in promoting self-interests and leadership opportunities and work as a team
  • Avoid visions of doom and see opportunities that may also impact team members as future supervisors
  • Become or remain an optimist, be realistic and maintain a measured idealistic approach to the job
  • Willingness to participate in more agency challenges or special projects.
  • A loyal workforce and less vulnerable to be poached by other agencies and create permanent interests in agency and mission and impose an attitude of ownership
Corrections.com author, Carl ToersBijns, (retired), has worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."

Other articles by ToersBijns:



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