This is the first installment of a series of articles intended to prepare the aspiring firefighter to be the best they can be.
On one hand, becoming a firefighter is not an easy task. On the other hand, it is not impossible or out of reach to become a firefighter, if you have properly prepared yourself. Remember, life is about choices. Only you can make the difference in your life and what you make of your life.
Becoming a firefighter is something that many people start out pursuing. Unfortunately the majority of those people probably never achieve their dream of becoming a full-time, paid firefighter. Why is that? I believe there are many reasons why people never achieve that dream, and I plan to discuss those reasons so that you can never find yourself in the position of saying, “If only I had tried harder, if only I had not done that stupid thing that prevented me from getting hired, if only I had better prepared myself; I might have become a firefighter.” The list goes on and on.
Why do some people that set out to become a firefighter, never achieve that dream? Here are the top 5 reasons I believe that keep people from obtaining their dream of becoming a firefighter:
- It never truly is a dream
- They do not take the hiring process seriously
- They are unable to admit their own weaknesses or take constructive criticism
- They continue to make excuses why they are not getting hired
- They give up
Let me now go into some details on each of the above reasons, so that you can hopefully prevent yourself from being in that position someday.
Reason #1: It never truly is a dream.
To become a firefighter, nobody says that you have to have wanted to become one since you were a little child. While that makes for an interesting story during an oral interview, it is something that is almost unrealistic in the year 2002. I bet every department has excellent firefighters that only became interested in the career while they were in their adult years and learned of the position after hearing about what a firefighter does from a friend or relative, or from a firefighter at a recruitment drive. What I am getting at is that I believe it doesn’t matter how long you have wanted to become a firefighter; what matters is how serious you are about becoming a firefighter, and how much you make that into a dream. Anyone that has a passion for something and is able to show their enthusiasm and sincerity, is going to have a better chance at succeeding than someone who is just going through the motions, or not taking every day as an opportunity to get closer to achieving their dream.
Reason #2: They do not take the process seriously.
Becoming a firefighter is not something you can expect to become when you only take a couple of tests per year, when you do not make the attempt at updating your resume at last once a month, or when you do not live, eat, and breathe the entire process. I believe it is a full-time job just getting a firefighter position. You truly need to be in it for the long haul. When candidates first start out, they usually appear to be very motivated. At some point, many of them get sidetracked and lose their focus. They find a significant other. Their significant other they presently have is not prepared for what they are actually getting themselves into, having to wait a few years for you to get hired. They find out it is not what they truly want to do. They get discouraged after taking a couple of tests and not doing so well. They find it difficult to get the necessary education and experience to succeed due to family commitments. The list goes on and on.
You must be continuously be thinking about creative ways to improve your resume on a monthly basis; whether it is obtaining another certificate, performing more volunteer community service hours, or completing another fire related class. Live, eat, and breathe the entire process. Those that take the process very seriously, and make a sincere and dedicated effort at becoming a firefighter, stand an excellent chance when compared to those that do not make the effort to learn everything they can about the field they want to get into and spend the rest of their lives doing.