Thread: I need advice!

  1. #1

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    Unhappy I need advice!

    Hello. I am in need of advice to help me through a dilemma I am facing. This will be rather long so I thank everyone in advance for their input and guidance. So, here goes...

    I have had a goal of becoming a career firefighter since I was a young child. By the time I was in elementary school I had identified my dream department. I have tested for this department previously and made it through to the final chief's interview, but was not selected. That process was a few years ago. In the meantime I got hired by a suburban department as a POC. I also went to school to get my Fire Science degree and my Paramedic certification. I went to work for a private EMS agency which is the primary ALS provider covering the jurisdiction of my dream department. I selected this agency so that I would be able to work with and get to know the guys already on my dream department. I really enjoy my medic job, but the frequent contact with the FD has only solidified my belief that a job with this department is my dream job. Still, knowing the job of a firefighter is what I always wanted to do, I continued testing at other agencies. I gained a lot of experience with the testing and interview processes and began to score very high on hiring lists. In fact, I recently was offered and accepted a position as a career firefighter for a different agency 90 minutes away. Now, this is where my problem lies...

    While I have only worked at my career department for a short time, it is clear that this agency is not right for me. The agency is not led as professionally, operated as progressively, or funded as appropriately as my dream department. In addition, the commute is difficult now and nearly impossible in the winter, an adequate training program is non-existent, and their schedule, which is unique for our area, is causing hardship in maintaining family contact as a number of our relatives are a 3+ hour drive away. Throw in newly developed medical problems for my spouse and I am having serious thoughts about resigning from my position. Although initially considered, moving closer to my new job is no longer an option due to my spouse’s employment and a desire to remain close to family.

    While the general framework of my current job is still the same, as firefighting is firefighting, I have come to a realization that my excitement to finally have been offered a FF job has caused me to overlook a number of serious questions that should have asked and answered before accepting the position. My problem is compounded by the fact that my dream department will soon be conducting a new hiring process and that my POC department is considering adding full-time staff from the POC ranks within the next year (a position for which I would be given serious consideration). My current schedule would not allow me to participate in the hiring process for my dream department without lying and calling in “sick” 4-5 shifts over the next three months (I’m not eligible for sick time until well into next year). Also, the union at my current job is already demanding I resign from my POC position immediately, a decision I am unwilling to make as I want to be eligible to apply for the next full time position that opens. Now, I am able to resign immediately and return to my previous job without issue. This would be the ideal situation, but I am deeply concerned that my short tenure in my current career position would be looked at negatively by my dream department during the current process. I am also concerned that my departure from my current department may cause “hard feelings” which may result in less than accurate information being provided during any potential background checks that may be completed in the future. (FYI…I have successfully completed all tasks, skills, and tests administered and have been a model employee with an eager, positive attitude throughout. I get along well with my Captain, the guys on shift, and have had a very positive relationship with the Chief Officers present during training and on emergency scenes. In fact, I was recently told by my officer that the Chief and two Assistant Chief’s of the department are very impressed with my abilities and willingness to engage in hard work and extra training.)

    Should I have reason to be concerned about resigning? Do you think my dream department will hold this against me or do you think they would understand my situation?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to reading any advice or input you may have!

  2. #2
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    Default Your Choice

    Any Department of any size should not hold it against you to try to further yourself in the Fire profession. If you are to go to your dream department do so with your head held up high and try your best. The department you are leaving should not put in a bad word for you in your backgrounds. I say SHOULD!!! There are some that do hold a grudge but they are few and far between.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
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    Will you honestly be able to look yourself in the mirror if you DON'T try for your dream department?

    I'm sure you already know what you want/need to do and just want to feel a bit better about doing it. I can tell there's some fear about getting a "bad Rap" or review from your current department. That might be something you could resolve when you talk to your Cap or Chief. If you do leave, leave on good terms. Most people (as stated before) aren't going to get upset if you say something like "Cap this has been great, and I've learned so much from you and the department... But I have been looking for this job for years and now I have a shot..." Give it to them honest. If they're reasonable people they'll respect you for it. If their not all the better you're leaving.

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    Hey guys, thanks for the responses!

    My main concern is how my "dream department" will view my short tenure at my current department. Would a panel have concerns over hiring someone who left their previous job after only a short time? The problem is that I will need to resign from my current position simply to participate in their hiring process. I am 100% willing to do this, but I have a bad feeling that my prospective employer may think that I left suddenly because I couldn't "cut it". While I can assure you this is not the case, I don't know how I could disprove their belief...especially if my current department is less than honest upon questioning. Any other feedback will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JRW1717 View Post
    Hey guys, thanks for the responses!

    My main concern is how my "dream department" will view my short tenure at my current department. Would a panel have concerns over hiring someone who left their previous job after only a short time? The problem is that I will need to resign from my current position simply to participate in their hiring process. I am 100% willing to do this, but I have a bad feeling that my prospective employer may think that I left suddenly because I couldn't "cut it". While I can assure you this is not the case, I don't know how I could disprove their belief...especially if my current department is less than honest upon questioning. Any other feedback will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    First, testing is no guarantee of employment. It sounds as if your choice to work at your current place of employment has brought on some unexpected hardships or at least hardships you really did not completely consider when you took the job.

    Second, your other employment you were not willing to give up, even when your union demanded it, does not always sit well. Is your dream dept union? The fire service is a tight network, just something you may want to consider. Quitting your association with your second job, especially when asked to by your local, is not considered bad, it in my view often shows commitment to your primary employer, especially as a new firefighter. Besides, your hardship seems to be compounded by time away from home as it is.

    Weigh out what is best for you and your family. Try to make trades if you can, do 2 for 1's, if this dream dept is so important. Be compliant with your dept and local, you chose to work there, it's your primary employment. Loyalty and devotion to your department no matter where you currently work, will reflect and often be viewed as the type of employee you will be.

    Best of luck...

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    JRW,
    I look at things a little differently than others here. First and foremost, the department did not change, nor did the weather. Both of these issues seem to be a problem for you. I attribute the departmental issues to you not doing your research beforehand. The leadership did not change in the few months since you have been employed there.

    The snow didn't just begin either. I bet if you look at the past weather records, you will find that the snow comes at pretty much the same time every year.

    The union not allowing (or wanting) you to continue your volunteer efforts - again this information was available BEFORE you took the job.

    All that being said, it's your decision not the members of this forum. I will caution you on two things, however. First, if your heart is not in your current job, it will often show in your performance. If you are on probation, or a new employee, you run the risk of being terminated for poor performance. This is especially true if your current department gets wind of your unhappiness.

    Secondly, it's much easier to land a firefighter job when you already have one. Any department is going to question someone's commitment to the fire service who chose to resign for the reasons you cited.

    Lastly, you state that you would need to call in sick to pursue testing. Doesn't your department have holidays, vacation days and trades?
    Good luck with YOUR decisions.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Default Remember

    [Quote/]Lastly, you state that you would need to call in sick to pursue testing. Doesn't your department have holidays, vacation days and trades?
    Good luck with YOUR decisions.[/QUOTE]

    Paul...I agree with all you've said except for the last part. Do you remember the candidate who was STILL a member of another department when he was going through our Drill School?? I think one should pick a department and stick with it.

    Dud
    Last edited by JayDudley; 08-26-2008 at 06:38 PM.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
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    Jay,
    Yes, I do remember a recruit (in MY drill school) calling in sick to his former department while he was in our academy. Talk about hedging your bets.

    I believe the original popster was referring to taking time off during the testing process.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Default Got it

    Paul....I got the question....but I was making a point about the extremity of the sick call. Talk about having guts.....

    Dud
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
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    Thank you all for your input. I really have gotten myself into a bad situation and I realize the responsibility for it falls completely on my shoulders. I certainly was naïve in my assumption that all firefighting jobs are created equal. Add the fact that I was so excited about reaching a goal I worked so hard for and it is clear that I did not use my best judgment when accepting the job. That being said, I still have an issue of how to resolve the situation. I am 100% certain that I will be resigning, but am uncertain as to when I should do this given the ongoing hiring process by my “dream department”. What would be the most respectable way of handling this? Any input on how I can accomplish this while having the least negative impact while going through a future hiring process?

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