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NYC
USA

the crib sheet

my career as a corrections officer ....

Brooke Nalle

A few nights ago, I was given the heinous responsibility of finding all of our 2010 tax documents.  As I rummaged through our files thinking that Real Simple magazine needs to swoop in and fix my mess, I found a file labelled job ideas.  In this very dusty, 15 year old , file, I found little lists - magazine editor, art auction house director, pr with a big question mark next to it and a scribbled note "ask someone what pr is????", and teacher.  Behind these notes, I found a bound document prepared by a professional psychologist.

Wow, I had forgotten that years ago my worried, proactive parents had sent me to a career psychologist.  In her office, I took tests, answered questions, and even had to squeeze a ball as hard as I could, as long as I could.  The end result of these two, probably expensive, days of assessment was the document that I was now holding in my hands.  I think that at 21 or 22, when I went through this process, I looked through it noticing that my psychologist had diagnosed me with poor grip strength (that squeeze the ball trick).  I guess seeing no rationale I hadn't really tried very hard.  Or maybe I was just weak.  I am still pretty lousy at opening jars.

I digress other than poor grip strength, I learned that the best career for me was .... drum role please ..... corrections officer.  That's right, in jails/prisons - minimum to maximum security.  I didn't take this news very well at the time - I remember now - I guess I pictured myself in a bad polyester uniform, carrying a club to protect myself in my work place.  Who knows, I clearly didn't think deeply about this career idea and turned away from it in ignorance working my gen-x attitude of malaise.

15 years later I am finally finding myself in a career that I love and would do and am doing in my limited free time.  In fact, sleep coaching is invading my consciousness.  I dream about it, think about my clients while I drive to preschool pick up, and choose working on this little business over reading a good book and watching Mad Men.  When I do watch Mad Men, I wonder is Sally a good sleeper?

Have I at last become a .... corrections officer?  Let's think.  My clients are often behind bars - in cribs, behind gates.  They cry, act up, scream and get angry.  They need help, and they need to feel safe.  They test their families and test me - that's for sure.  Also wouldn't you say that my goal is to 'reabilitate' these little sleepers?  I guess I am just missing the uniform and the club (please keep in mind that I clearly have no idea what a corrections officer wears and certainly do not mean to disrespect anyone in this noble career).

Maybe I am just trying to connect these dots that span 15 years a little too literally.  

I put the report away, gathered our tax stuff - a big surprise to my husband, handed it over to him, and opened up my computer and got back to work.  The life of a sleep coach/corrections officer is pretty fulfilling thus far.