First response could be described as the human experience, blared through concert amplifiers.
We do our work right on that line where ‘life as we know it’ collides with stress, confusion and sometimes tragedy. Cold streets covered in broken glass, eerily dark rainy nights, hellfire flames ripping through the picture windows of what was a family home; we not only see with our eyes, we feel with our very souls, this intense human experience.
Our work requires a vigorous character built upon high quality values that we each choose for ourselves.
This month, we have decided to highlight the best of these first responder values.
The goal of this short series is to reveal a few of the personal codes that make first responders such a special tribe. With a New Year and decade on the horizon, we want these articles to start the conversations at our stations about what it means to truly work from our values and how we can all set a higher standard for the calling.
We begin with the ‘dashboard value’ itself - awareness.
Chapter 2 of 5
Hi. Thanks for coming back around.
This week may be a little tough. You know my story, now I want to introduce you to a few of our brothers and sisters who, sadly, did not make the decision I did. They completed suicide. For various reasons. Could they have been prevented? Maybe? Probably…but we’ll never know.
(Chapter 1 of 5)
Hi! My name is Matt, and one time, in college, I nearly jumped from a 6th floor window.
OK. Got that out of the way. It’s a true story, one I’m going to tell you because, if you are in a bad place, you can find encouragement to write another chapter in your story. As The Doctor once said, “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”
There are thousands of discussions and strategies on ‘work-life balance’ out there. The corporate world started this discussion 30 years ago in the boom of the high rise, cubicle filled, glass ‘prisons’ that became the prototype of the computer laden end of the 20th century.
Work-week hours were at all time highs, aggressive performance programs and ever-climbing demands revealed their side effects: the deterioration of home lives. The discussion then began, how do we attempt to accomplish so much in our workplace and still keep a sane and fulfilling life away from the job?
‘Work-life balance’ strategies became a human performance parameter that could rival the food pyramid. Make time for this, make time for that, plan to plan; club vacations and timeshares grew like weeds. In some cases the solutions were as stressful and complicated as the problems they were looking to solve. In the last half of the century, both ‘work’ and ‘vacations’ had moved up the chart to the top 5 stressors of the American public in psychological research.
Isn’t there a better way?
Have we over-analyzed the problem and over-scheduled the solutions?
Is attempting to ‘balance’ our lives away from our jobs and our lives, at our jobs - really a solution at all?
Get ready for this:
In your life, you are where you are, because that is where you decided to be.
Some people might stop reading this article after that statement. But, if you’re still with me, check this out, because it is incredibly empowering.
It’s launch day. Mission Ready is coming off stand-by.
We would like to start this venture by explaining why the project was created and introduce the values that will drive it.
If you are a first responder, you understand the concept of ‘standing by.’
There is a potential emergency in the community and your asset has been placed on the status of ‘get ready, we may need you.’
So, you wait in station and listen to the radio chatter, focusing on the potential dispatch and the role you will play.
As you wait and anticipate the call, you might not be considering the amount of preparation that has brought you to that moment; the studying, the drilling, the testing.
Your knowledge and skills are ready for the call to duty. The patch on your sleeve or the badge on your chest declare that you have met the standard; you are competent.
But, are you ready?