Recently, my wife and I celebrated our eighteenth wedding anniversary.
Over the years, we’ve added a few gray hairs, become parents, moved several times, bought and traded various cars, traveled quite a bit, and even started a company of our own.
During this time, my wife has worked as a paralegal for a local attorney, a bail agent, and a 911 operator. Now she manages the day-to-day operations of our company and presides over family life as a wonderful mom.
I, on the other hand, have always been just a bail bondsman.
This is relevant inasmuch as we, as bail agents, often forget the degree to which our work complicates the lives of our significant others. Being on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year is a commitment that many are reluctant to make but that is essential for success in this business.
To the committed bail agent, there’s no such thing as a day off or an ignored call.
The only thing I know for sure after twenty-seven years in this business is that people in jail want out. Right now. And if you don’t service them in a timely manner, they’ll take their business to another company.
If this happens often enough, you may very well find yourself looking for another job. A missed bond call is a missed opportunity, and information concerning a bond jumper has a short shelf life. You’ve got to act fast, because your competition most likely will.
The only thing I know for sure after twenty-seven years in this business is that people in jail want out. Right now…Half-eaten meals, half-watched movies, and periodic absences from social gatherings are just a way of life for us.
While most bail agents are resigned to this hectic schedule, we often fail to consider how this adversely affects our families. I think of the times that my wife and I have had to drive separately to family functions because I might have to leave at a minute’s notice. I also recall many occasions when our plans had to change on the fly because I was called away.
Half-eaten meals, half-watched movies, and periodic absences from social gatherings are a way of life for us. These last-minute pivots have become so common that we don’t feel the need to explain them anymore; often, our spouses are left to make our excuses for us.
With experience, I’ve learned ways to minimize the adverse effects such a hectic schedule has on our daily lives. Often it’s a matter of prioritizing or multi-tasking; in some instances, I just have to resign myself to the fact that I can’t be everywhere at the same time or respond to every call as quickly as my clients may want.
Over the years, slowing down to enjoy the work and the life I have has become more important to me than trying to get more work.
As I enter what will likely be the zenith of my career (and begin the gradual, inexorable slowdown that time and circumstance will eventually make necessary), I’m reminded that none of this would have been possible without my wife, Darlene Deaton Stiles. She seldom gets the public recognition that I do as the public face of a bonding company. But no one knows better than I how vital her help and support have been for all these years.
Happy anniversary, Baby!