It's tough to keep your outlook balanced when you work the street. It's easy to start thinking of everyone as an asshole. Easy, and in the long run, ruinous to your mental health.
Consider the observations of New York City detective Edward Conlon, from his excellent book about life as a street cop, "Blue Blood".
When he was working patrol, he says, "Someone hit me with a brick from a rooftop... It's hard not to take that kind of thing personally, and I keep a piece of that brick on my desk. Sometimes I thought of mounting it on a plaque that said:
PRESENTED TO POLICE OFFICER EDWARD CONLON BY THE PEOPLE OF 420 EAST 169 STREET, IN APPRECIATION FOR HIS DEDICATED SERVICE.But it would have been wrong for any number of reasons."
"First, because it wasn't true-I knew good people in that building, including... a retired Housing cop who sat tenant patrol. And maybe more important, because it's a bad way to think, to imagine that it was a message from the people; that there was an 'everybody' out there, unappreciative of my work or even looking to hurt me. Many people were unappreciative, and, too plainly, there was at least one person who thought it a joke or better to see me die, but there is no such thing as 'everybody,' anywhere."
"The way I worked as a cop was to know the basics, trust my instincts, and make it up as I went along. I had to be careful that it didn't make me up as I went along, too."