Promoting too soon?
I have a simple question: Is there such a thing as promoting too soon?
I realize there are a million scenarios, many of which represent exceptions to the rules (both good and bad). I ask this because I have heard this in my department, as well as from friends from other departments. When some say "So and So was promoted way too early," it obviously can be sour grapes. I am curious as to what others think about promoting officers at an early time in their career. Has your department done this? How has it worked? Was the officer good or bad?
Most departments have minimum requirements for length of service in positions before candidates can be promoted. Should candidates only have this bare minimum service before promoting? (again, we all know there are special cases out there, but I'm thinking about a typical situation with a typical candidate). Should experience in a position mean more than taking some extra classes for a promotion?
This is just something I have pondered and would love to hear what others have to say. I will also say this isn't a question I ask with my own "sour grapes." I had a Captain who, when he was promoted to Lieutenant several years ago, was done so with the bare minimum time to be promoted. He was a good Lt. has been a good Captain (not on shift with him anymore), but he also had his moments of showing true weaknesses in leadership. I had never really thought about it, just attributed it to his personality, until I got to thinking about his first promotion coming so early. I got to wondering if maybe he was put in a position that he was capable of doing, but far earlier in his career than he may have been ready for.
Hope this wasn't too boring!
I've seen such things go good and bad. I think much depends on the person. I know one person who made battalion chief within 7 years of his hire date and the entire department respects him and admires him. My own assistant chief made it to his position within 6 years of his hire date (albeit having quit a lot of experience before we hired him). He's so well respected that one person who was competing against him for the AC slot actually started out his interview saying, "I think you'd be a fool not to promote him, I know I certainly would if I was chief. But for some reason if you decide not to, I think I'd be a great candidate because..." :eek: But I also know just as many people who were promoted very early and have battled respect and leadership issues from day one and probably will for the rest of their careers. Again, it depends on the person and how well they handle themselves after the promotion.
It truely depends on the person and how well they prepared themselves. A strong individual who understands teamwork, has a good firefighting foundation, is hungry for knowledge, and doesnt allow "passengers" will most likely perform exceptionally.
On the other hand, I have seen long time firefighters promote who had done little to prepare themselves and just wanted to be one of the guys with a larger paycheck. Those individuals are mediocre at best, usually looking for the easiest way to get by.
People skills, teamwork, and knowledge will go a long way.
Hope this helps,
For some, promoting at 20 years is too early.
Originally Posted by sfd1992
Gotta love those Guys that have (20) 1st Year experiences and education.
there will always people who can promote early and still be fantastic officers...but there are always those few that promote for the $$ and aren't prepared for the responsibility.
I will tell you this....you give me a "captain" that has 10 years of experience on a dept and a veteran FF with 30+ years of experience...............when that veteran FF speaks....everybody listens.
I don't give a damn if you have every single EMS/Fire/Hazmat/OSHA/NIMS certification if you don't have enough experience. anybody can push certifications on their resume ... but experience is what counts to me.
That piggy-backs one of my favorite descriptions of some of the firefighters out there:
Originally Posted by mikeyboy
"You can have one (1) year of experience OR you can have one (1) year of experience 20 times."
I think everyone has hit the nail on the head with this one. Many departments have a prerequisite number of years that are required just to take the test. Some people are ready before others. Some are never ready.
I promoted to Captain (no lieutenants on my department) at 32 and BC at 39. In retrospect, it was too early to promote to BC for ME. I had 19 years in the fire service in a really busy department. It was too early because I feel like I missed out on the fun in the fire house.
I looked down the road and saw that there were a bunch of retirements coming soon and if I didn't capitalize on the opportunity I would not have a chance. The positions would have been filled by younger guys and my window would have closed.
Now that I have 27 years on the job and am retiring in a few years, I am happy that I promoted once more (Division Chief).
To summarize, everyone is different and has different motivation and capabilities.