1. #1
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    Default To Leave Or Not To Leave?

    I'm pretty sure the answer to my dilemma can only be answered by me, but I thought I would see what advice/input others had.

    I have been a firefighter/paramedic with a prestigious South Florida department for 4 years now. I got hired later in life, (was 35 when hired). During my short career a I have built up my seniority to where I have over 125 of the close to 700 firefighters below me. I will be eligible for the LT. Test next year which I plan on taking if I'm still here!

    Now for the negatives...... My department has had pay cuts totaling close to 45% in pay over the last 2 years, and there is a very good chance that we will take another 10-12% in October.

    Because of these cuts and the projected future cuts, I have decided to entertain the idea of moving departments. Though I really don't want to start over or leave where I'm at, I have to provide for my wife and new baby girl. I only applied to two departments. One is here in South Florida. The pay increase would be around 25% right out of the academy. It looks as if the department is in a much better situation than my current department.
    I have also applied to a department on the West Coast near where I grew up and al, my family is located. The pay is also more out there, and now with a baby, the thought of being near family is huge!
    So what to do? I've made it through the masses on both departments and interviews are just around the corner. I'm scared to lose seniority in such a volatile work environment, but can't afford to continue to take these cuts. And let's face it....I'm no spring chicken! Though physically I can easily handle another academy, I need to start collecting some years to put towards my pension...(if there still is a pension).

  2. #2
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    1. stay where you are at and hope the us economy improves and wages start coming up in the next 2-3 years

    2. take the other florida job with more pay now, 4 yrs is not that long on a dept.

    3. not sure about a calif move, do not know how fla. cost of living compare to calif, but do know it is a little more to live in calif, and does not look like it will get any better for a long time!!!!!!!!!!


    does fla. have a state wide retirement, so you can at least keep your retirement, or is city by city??

    do you have a second job???? now

  3. #3
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    Stick it out. Iím on my 3rd department because I decided to leave the first one. To begin with I worked for one of the 2 largest departments in my state. Pay sucked! No raises for 4 years. My moral was very low. I used this and my wifeís new job as an excuse to leave for another department. I spent 7 years at this department until I looked deep inside and realized that I had made the move for the wrong reasons. I realized that every department has problems. The grass is the same no matter what side of the fence you are on. You have to find what makes you happy. I realized this and decided to start over at a 3rd department. This time I made the choice for the right reasons and it is the happiest I have ever been. I look forward to driving 2 hrs every day so I can be a fireman again.
    Just remember that things can turn south at a new department depending on what the economy does. You can face pay cuts or layoffs. Donít base the decision solely upon the CURRENT pay scale. Take the pay out of the equation. Besides compensation are you unhappy with your current department? If the answer is yes then you need to ask yourself why? When you determine why you are unhappy you must ask if the other department will fulfill this?
    I wasted 7 years of my career with a department that I was not happy with because I made a bad decision to leave my first department. I know work for a large department with a great group of guys and things have worked out for the best, but it was a long process to get her.

  4. #4
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    Continue in the hiring process with both departments until a job offer is made. Then evaluate all options to help you make your decision.

    Some departments will allow you to pass 2 or more times when offered the job and still remain on the list.
    _____________________________________________

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  5. #5
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    I plan to continue to go through the hiring process with both departments, but I need to start thinking about what I would do. We know how the fire department is.... They take almost a year to put you through the process and then give you two to three weeks notice once the job offer has been made. This is no problem for the other department in South Florida, but a bit of a problem for the one on the West Coast.
    I do have a little bit of the "grass is always greener" syndrome! Times are tough and as a department, moral is very low. This does play into the reason why I applied to the other South Florida Dept, but I also wanted to cover my but if things kept going south the way they are. The West Coast department is a whole other can of worms. Before I got hired down here, I was hoping to move back home. Once I got hired, it was no longer a question. Well now with the pay cuts and the new baby, my wife and I are rethinking this option. Oh ya..... I forgot to mention that if we do move to the West Coast, we will have to "short sale" our house. We don't want to do this, but we are under water "as lot" on the house. Our lawyer has told us that because of my cuts and the reflection of this on our bank statements that it shouldn't be too much of a bruise to our credit and we should be able to buy in a year! I would like to be near family, but I'm worried that at 39 I am starting over....again! And it's at an expensive price with no promises that things won't go bad out there. I've even thought of doing something else instead of Firefighter/Paramedic. This was quiclly shot down because I love what I do and can't see myself doing anything else!
    One last point.... With the South Florida Department I can buy my 4 years of service back regarding pension bennies. With West Coast, I start from scratch!
    thanks for letting me vent. This is what I needed. Hopefully I will have some clarity soon! Both departments are looking for Feb Start dates.

  6. #6
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    I'm going with HFR on this one...but yah with that situation and how long you guys have been getting the shaft, I'd be looking elsewhere too. I say go for it if you find a good department. Good luck, I know it's a tough decision...

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    I'm sending you a PM

  8. #8
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    sounds like staying in fla. is your best shot

    a short sale is just short of foreclosure, you may want to ask a few more people about the credit ding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. #9
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    I recently left a major department in Southern California. We had not had a pay raise in quite a while and the future did not look too bright. I do miss some of my good friends and some of the really good quality calls.
    In the end though, it's all about taking care of your family and planning for retirement.
    I never imagined leaving my department, especially after 23 years. I am glad I made the decision I did. It was the right one for my family and I.
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    Aspiringfirefighters.com
    AspiringFireOfficers.com

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