"I don't want to go to work today!" How many times have you started your day with that statement? We all have. Although it may be true at some points in our lives, we must be careful that we don't make it "contagious." Some days it is really hard to keep a positive attitude and stay "on...
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Our attitudes are influenced by many things and people and can be traced all the way back to our parents. What was their attitude when they would come home from work? Was it "I had the best day at work today" or "Today was such a terrible day at work"? How often as children did we hear these types of comments from adults? They can leave a lasting impression on us. The same is true at your fire station. Remember the shift when everyone was sitting in the kitchen as you came in and you heard, "We were up all night last night, but we sure did make a good save"? This can have a lasting effect on the next shift. This is all part of the cycle of "contagiousness."
OK, it's decision time. How are you going to be "contagious" — positively or negatively? With a small amount of effort and a lot of concentration, we can become more positive employees. As firefighters, we all know that our job isn't just fighting fires; there are many not-so-exciting aspects as well. Start with your next shift, grab the toilet brush and smile while you're doing your chores. Why? Because you have been chosen to serve your community as a firefighter. We are a proud profession full of noble and courageous people. Take pride in everything you do. I promise that when you do, the whole station and beyond will notice and the vicious cycle of complaining will stop because you are contagious!
RYAN PENNINGTON is a firefighter/paramedic for the Charleston, WV, Fire Department and a member of West Virginia USAR Task Force 1. He has over 15 years of combined fire, rescue and EMS experience, starting with a local volunteer department and continuing through EMS for five years as a critical care paramedic. Pennington transferred to the career fire service in 2003 and has worked for the City of Charleston since 2007. He is a West Virginia State Instructor 2, Hazmat Technician and Certified Fire Officer 2. He blogs at viewsfromthejumpseat.blogspot.com and may be contacted at email@example.com.