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  1. #1
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    Question Question about flak from a lieutenant

    So I recently started at a new fire department a few months ago. Our department is going through a lot of changes with retirements from a new chief down to the line guys retiring just because of years on the department not anything bad. Of course with all the new things I have to learn maps and the streets are one. There is also a lot of "little things" that the "boot guys" do. Also to preface this I am the 8th guy with less than a year on and there is another newer firefighter that got hired after I did. I've been on 3 months in October. I have about half the map down to memory, know my station duties, know where the equipment is on the rigs and how most everything works. There are still little things that need work but hey I'm new to this full time firefighting gig.

    Well this is one lieutenant that is on my shift that constantly rides me about anything. He's never once told me I've done something correct. It's always what I'm doing wrong. For instance, we had a map test, I did ok on it. Missed a few streets but it was a major improvement from my last map test about a month ago. 4 other guys took this test too. I was the only one to get called back to the training room and scolded because I didn't get them all right. He said "you've been on almost 3 months, you should have a majority of the map committed to memory." I've been to the city I work in twice before I started there. He also went on that it seems like I don't know my position. He explained that he had to empty tr dishwasher while 4 of the "boots" sat and were finishing dinner. I asked if he would of liked me to get up and do it then finish eating. He said "well that would be the smart thing to do." My shift captain told me to make sure I finish dinner even if others are done before me. He said said during this conversation "I don't know if you want to make a career out of this or if we're just a stepping stone to someplace else but you need to do a lot better." After he said this I was floored. I told a few of my fellow line guys and they all said he was out of line. A few of the guys just said to ignore him and to them I'm doing a great job. I also heard rumblings of the union backing me up and some sort of harassment filed as he treats me differently than the other new guys.

    Basically I want to know what you all think. I've spoken to other lieutenants on my shift and they all say learning the streets takes time and that I'm a hard worker and they notice it however I have to work with this certain lieutenant a lot and it makes for a miserable 24 hours. He's also fairly close to my captain so I've heard he fills his head with what he thinks. Any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

    (Sorry for the long post)


  2. #2
    Forum Member Jonnee's Avatar
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    There is nothing like airing the laundry in the open fourms. Man, suck it up. You are a FNG and the Lieutenant is seeing if you can take the heat in the house or not. This the last place that you need to be crying about the way you are treated.

    I would bet the CFD has a policy about social networks and being on there complaining about the department.

  3. #3
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    Lol, welcome to the fire department!

    Seriously, you gotta have thick skin to do this job. He is probably just testing you, or maybe he is just a *****. Either way, sounds like the rest of your crew say that you are doing fine.

  4. #4
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    First off, I'm not "airing dirty laundry". This is a forum. I didn't name any fire department or anyone in particular. I wanted to see if anyone has been through something like this before.

    Secondly, yes I understand the fire department. This is my first full time fire gig however i was on a combination FD for 4 years so don't come at me with the "it's how a FD is". There will be ribbings and people giving me s**t. I'm not complaining about that. I'm saying it seems like this lieutenant has something toward me. Just because I'm a new firefighter doesn't mean that treating me different from the other firefighters especially the newer firefighters is correct and again I wanted feedback on if anyone had been through this and/or any advice.

    Trust me, I've got thick skin but when someone rides everything you do every shift no matter who you are you'll end up ****ed.

  5. #5
    Forum Member fieryred943's Avatar
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    First of all this isn't a "gig", this is a profession/career. Secondly...have you even bothered to talk to this Lieutenant about how you are being treated them? Or whether or not he has an issue with you? You seem to be talking to everyone else except this Lieutenant. If you don't feel comfortable asking him if he has an issue with you by yourself then take a senior man with you. Maybe this Lieutenant see's more in you then you are putting out? Don't know, I am grasping at why you are asking everyone else other than the person you should be talking to. Already mention of Harassment charges being filed????? Maybe he just doesn't like you.

    When I first started I had a Lieutenant constantly talking about me to the point that it started to **** everyone off around me. I went to the Lieutenant and asked him what his issue was and told him to knock it off. I don't want to be treated any different then anyone else because it doesn't do me any good. It was getting to the point where I was going to have the senior men tune him in but it never came to that.

    If in fact you are going to bring this Lieutenant up on Harassment you better have your ducks in a row and be able to prove it. Documentation of who/what/where/when and why. And you better be able to live with what will come down the pipe if you do file charges.... talk about label yourself before your first year. I am not saying to lay back an take it but...speak to him with or without someone. Talk to your Captain/Battalion Chief... go through the proper chain of command to resolve it.

    Thick skin or not... be careful what you do because you still have a whole career ahead of you.

    Just my two cents...you can take it or leave it.
    Last edited by fieryred943; 09-27-2012 at 03:50 PM.

  6. #6
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    I have had good bosses and bad bosses in and out of the fd

    Goes with the boss

  7. #7
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    Fieryred,

    First off yes i know its a profession sorry for mu wording. I've been talking to some of the more senior guys on my shift about it. At first I was getting the "that's how he is" line. After a few weeks those same senior guys said they would have a talk with him on behalf of me. The talk about harassment was from others not me. It didn't even cross my mind and I believe it's not charges in the case of a court but more Interdepartmental. I haven't spoken directly to him mostly because I'm unsure on how to sound without sounds like I'm being disrespectful. He is still a lieutenant and I know I have to respect that but I don't exactly know how to bring it up and discuss it. My last shift I spoke with one of my other lieutenants who said I didn't have any problems so its hard for me to change what I'm doing for one particular person.

    Thanks for the advice though. I do appreciate it and will for sure take it to heart.

  8. #8
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    You have four cards you can play, one of which you already have:

    1. Discuss the situation with the senior man (or possibly a Union Shop Steward), and request that he approach the Loot.

    2. Ask the loot for a closed-door, off the record meeting between you and him. Lay it out- "I feel like you are riding me for anything and everything. Am I being paranoid or in your eyes am I screwing everything up?"

    3. Request that he go out to breakfast with you one morning when you both go off. Lay it out- see above.

    4. Undesirable and a last resort: Go over his head to the Captain (or whoever falls above him in your unified chain of command) and request the closed-door, off the record meeting.

    5. VERY undesirable and THE last resort: File an official complaint.

    I was in a similar situation many many moons ago. I took the Loot out to breakfast (he was quite surprised when I extended the invite.) After we ordered, I opened by saying "all of this is off the record, between you, me and these eggs and coffee." Then I threw it out there. Asked him if I was really that much of a fcuk up. Told him I felt like I couldnt do anything right in his eyes, and that every living breathing thing I did, he found fault with. He was humbled, and admitted he was being hard on me, however he also felt like I had a chip on my shoulder, which I did. We were greatful that we pointed this stuff out to one another. After discussing the situation for over an hour, we came out of it better men, and things were different after that. I just attended his retirement party last year- he went out as a Bn Chief. He changed his methods and praised in public and scolded in private, most of the time. There was an occasional scolding in public once in a while, but not nearly to the point that it was before.

    No matter what, any of the above could result in it blowing in your face.
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 09-28-2012 at 03:30 PM.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  9. #9
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    I vote for #2.

  10. #10
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Remember this you are a probationary member. You can be terminated for anything, just cause, etc. If you rock the boat and win, it will follow you through the valley of the shadow of death or the rest of your life. You will be labeled as a trouble maker or the dude that got Lt. Left Arm in trouble.

    Suck it up. Do what you are told. It could be he is testing you to see how far he can push you to a breaking point.

    BTW you location says that you are from Clev.O.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MidazoWHAM! View Post
    I vote for #2.
    I should have stressed that even this would be a last resort for me.

    I know that you dont want to hear it, but you really should just consider sucking it up until you arent on probation anymore. What you described is very common in the fire service, and any complaining about it isnt going to go over well...with anyone.

    Your Lt. could just be messing with you because you are the new guy, seeing how much you can take. If you start getting emotional its only going to make you look weak. Not something you want to follow you throughout your career.

    If everyone else on your crew seems to think that you are doing well, try to shrug off the comments from your Lt.

  12. #12
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    All,

    Thanks for your ideas and everything.

    I found out one of the senior guys spoke to him and he "didn't realize" he was being that tough on me. He has seemed more apt to helping rather than scolding. I never got an apology directly and no I'm not saying I should have but I can tell he has a different attitude towards me. From what I heard the senior guy who spoke with him told him to just sit back and watch what I do for a day and not to say anything...good or bad. It sounds like he realized I am busting my a.s.s and trying everything I can to become a great firefighter.

    Again thanks everyone for your ideas and comments. It was for sure tough especially when it seems like your doing your all and one person, at that a boss, thinks your a fcuk up.

    Also CaptOldTimer...just cause my location says I'm in Cleveland,OH doesn't necessarily mean I'm on CFD. There are a lot more FDs around Cleveland that are full time and just hired people.

  13. #13
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    Sorry I'm late to the party....hope it's not a westside suburb. LOL.

    Take care man

  14. #14
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    Ha ha. No worries. Better late than never. The answer is no.

  15. #15
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    Hey Matt,

    Nonetheless....I hope it all works out between you and your Lt. I know that can be a really tricky situation. But, it certainly sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and your work ethic is strong, so I'm sure that eventually, this will all be water under the bridge.

    Take care brother,
    Pete

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