You have a patch on your uniform, some alphabet soup after your name and certificates in your file. Every shift you roll to the scene in powerful machines that announce ‘help has arrived.’ You have all the acronyms and protocols rehearsed and memorized. On scene, you know how to put one objective in front of another; you can even adapt a little along the way. Maybe you have ‘seen a thing or two’ in the past few years, experience is really piling up. You know how to do the job, you know where to go and you know when to be there.
Your career feels like a full cup. Now what?
You didn’t come this far...
...to only come this far.
This is not a statement against longevity in a fulfilling career, quite the opposite, actually. First response is an tremendously fulfilling career, but it does require some action from us.
Getting into the job, proving competence, orienting to and learning our new role takes some time, some work and for sure, a few lumps at first. Then, there is a definite attraction to just settle in, let the days repeat themselves a bit. We want to just not be the FNG anymore.
But is that the best thing? For us? For those that we serve? For the calling?
Don’t bring the same quality of work every year for thirty years and call it a career.
It might help to ask yourself - what kind of responder do I want coming to my family’s emergency?
This takes it up a notch doesn’t it?
We might settle for generic and competent with some things in our lives, but when our family’s health and safety are in play, we want the very best for them. We want crews that not only have their job locked down, heads in the task, working smoothly, reliably and error free; we want awesome people with their hearts fully engaged as well. We want responders with a mediastinum full of values and standards that they authentically bring to the moment.
The formula: be excellent in your knowledge and skills, then be amazing in your attitude.
How do we get there? We’ve covered this before, but it’s worth repeating. Decisions.
Decide that it’s your next level of duty to bring more than the machines, gear and protocols to the call. Decide to bring your authentic, amazing, self. Rumble with that purpose of yours, decide to see challenges instead of obstacles on those difficult calls. Decide to do and say the things that you believe. Decide to be the center of the storm when there is chaos all around you. Decide to advocate for those in emergent need that can do nothing for you in return, as you would want another responder to do for your family.
Here’s the thing, if you haven’t felt it yet in life, there is definitely a law out there in the world:
We get what we give.
There is no better profession out there to express an amazing you. Every shift, every call, every passing moment with those that called for help or even with your own crew around the station is a chance to move the needle that measures - you. Bring it.
Keep in mind, however, it’s not a competition. Don’t worry about where you are among your peers. This is about being better than the responder you were yesterday.
Again, congratulations, if you’re here, you’re successful.
Now go be significant.