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by Peter Moskos

December 17, 2008

Work dreams

One thing I hated about being a cop was having work dreams. I mean, I still have them. Don't we all? But now my dreams are occasionally about being late for class, or unable to get my things together and leave home (the latter happens quite often in real life as well). Whatever, dude. So I'm late. Teaching dreams aren't the end of world.

But when I worked in the Eastern District, I had dreams about the Eastern District. And the Eastern District isn't good. It's one thing to work there and spend most of your waking hours in the Eastern (and a few asleep ones, too). But when I left the Eastern, I wanted to leave work. And for work and the Eastern to enter my dreams, my free time, that's just not right.

This came to mind because last night I was talking to two John Jay College student, one a ranking police officer and the other an immigrant cab driver (I love John Jay College). The guy who drives the cab wants to be a New York police officer (and I think would make a very good one). He said he was thinking of getting a job as a correctional officer (jail guard at Rikers) until the NYPD starts hiring again. I advised against it.

Being a C.O. is not just a tough job but also a bad job. To spend most of your waking hours in jail? I don't care if you get paid for it. You're in jail. And then there are the dreams....

Out of the blue I asked the police officer what kind of work dreams he had. He didn't even hesitate: dreams of being in fights and not being able to defend himself and needing to defend himself and having his gun not work. That didn't surprise me. I actually don't remember the details of my cop dreams. But they were something like that. They weren't friendly. Correctional-officer dreams must be terrible.

The student who drives taxis, not surprisingly, says he dreams of being in a car accident. He rents his cab each shift. And if he's in a accident that is his fault, he's got to pay for the repairs.

Work dreams. Hmmmm.... It's a good reason to be a teacher. Worst comes to worst, you're just naked in front of your class.


Anonymous said...

I used to waitress and I always woke up in a panic thinking I forgot someones food.

PCM said...

Same here. I waited tables on and off for 10 years.

I think more waiters should become police officers. Waiters would make good cops.

DJK said...

I have work dreams too... We have this SUPER HOT receptionist and well..

Anonymous said...

I'm a police officer- I googled "cop dreams" to see if what I'm experiencing is normal. Glad to see that it is. Aside from the malfunctioning weapon and arms that wouldn't move, I've also had dreams that I steal people's purses and cars, and I wake up going, "What the...?" Dreams are weird.