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When considering a career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or other law enforcement agency, it is beneficial to understand the potential hazards and disadvantages that one may encounter on the job and throughout a career. This information can help you make a fairly well-informed decision about applying to the FBI.
One of the first hazards to consider when contemplating an FBI career is the inherent danger of the work you may do. FBI agents are well trained and carry firearms, but they are also put in harm's way whenever they are investigating crimes. An FBI agent may be shot at, and encounter other life-threatening situations. Additionally, an FBI agent's family may be placed in harm's way if a criminal or terrorist decides to target the agent personally.
Stress and Health Problems
Due to the nature of the work, and the general high-stress that goes with being in law enforcement, FBI agents may experience stress-related health issues such as depression, anxiety, heart problems, digestive problems, chronic pain, sleep difficulties and poor nutrition.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), police officers and detectives have one of the highest rates of on-the-job injury and illness.
FBI and Family Life
A career with the FBI can have a profound effect on family life. The dangers an FBI agent faces on the job may be a constant source of anxiety for a spouse or partner, children and family. Long hours and little down time can also take a toll on family relations.
Although working for a government agency such as the FBI can provide many benefits, there may be some disadvantages. Officers may have to adjust to changes in the government policies and and funding. Changes in the needs of the government can result in agents being transferred, and not always to a desirable location. This could place additional strain on a a family.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Police and Detectives
- American Psychological Association: STress in the Workplace
- HelpGuide.org: Understanding Stress
- "Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach, 5ht Edition"; David Barlow, Mark Durand; 2009