This One's for the Back Bench People

It has been my good fortune to have been a volunteer firefighter for more than four decades now. I have seen and experienced a great deal, both good and bad. Based upon that understanding of how it works in our world let me ask you a very simple...


How, you might ask, does this advice square with the “life within the box” advice given in my "Thumbprint Management” commentary a few months ago?  Usually, if you are flexible enough and work at it hard enough, you can adapt, fit the pattern in the box.  However, occasionally in life, we are compelled to change the pattern, the shape of the box, we find ourselves in.  If that is your choice, then be a doer. Take action to change the shape of the box or cut a window in it.  Speak up, and from personal experience, I offer a final definition. 

Let me close with an important thought.  A doer is one who must be ready to accept one of two things – accolades or brickbats. 

HARRY R. CARTER, Ph.D., a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a fire protection consultant based in Adelphia, NJ. He is chairman of the Board of Commissioners in Howell Township Fire District 2 and retired from the Newark Fire Department as a battalion commander. Dr. Carter has been a member of the Adelphia Fire Company since 1971, serving as chief in 1991. He is a life member and past president of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors and life member of the National Fire Protection Association. He is president of the United States of America Branch of the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) of Great Britain. Dr. Carter holds a Ph.D. in organization and management from Capella University in Minneapolis, MN.