James B.

Bureau of Prisons

I was hired as a correctional officer with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in November, 2000, with 12-years of experience from three very unique correctional facilities. As a result, I learned quickly… becoming a rookie again with over a decade of experience, is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. However, I also found out I really could learn a few new tricks and even refine some old ones!

Employment with the B.O.P. had been my ultimate career goal since beginning my first job with the Department of Corrections in the State of Kentucky in1990. I had been promoted to the position of correctional sergeant and I was assigned to the Internal Affairs office, which came with a Monday thru Friday day-shift schedule. Additionally, I held enjoyable specialized collateral duty assignments, such as institutional Firearms Instructor, Security Threat Group Coordinator and ACA team member. Although my career with the Kentucky DOC was very rewarding, my goal was to become employed by the B.O.P., so, with a few months of age eligibility left (37 is the age eligibility cut off), I submitted my application, and shortly thereafter, I found myself sitting in an Institutional Familiarization (I.F.) class at FMC Lexington, as a rookie correctional officer.

Walking away from an established and distinguished career with the DOC was a calculated risk, but I believed the rewards would be worth the risk. As the end of my probationary year approached, I would again take a chance that would impact the rest of my career with the B.O.P. Upon assuming my post on a particular evening watch, I noticed a vacancy announcement for a promotion to the Special Investigative Supervisor’s (SIS) office. The announcement closed exactly one-day after my probationary year ended, which meant I was eligible to apply, and I did just that. Approximately one and one-half-months later, I got the job! My promotion to the SIS office was a critical and necessary first step on the pathway leading to my current position with the B.O.P.’s Counter Terrorism Unit.

In retrospect, I clearly see that taking calculated risks in concert with having the interest and ability to learn new skills, gave my correctional career a boost. Exploring other job possibilities may be beneficial to your career definitely worth the challenge! If it feels right to you, seriously consider new options!

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