Thread: Gen-x ???????

  1. #1
    Lt.Todd Guest

    Thumbs down Gen-x ???????

    Over the past several years I have noticed a new breed of firefighter. They come into rook school with a sort of know it all attitude, dont listen to direction to well in the field, and act like two years on the job really means they have 20.What the hell happenend to the real firefighters. The guys who came on to fight fire, not draw a check!

    Is this just a problem in the south, or is it just the new breed.If its the latter, were in big trouble.I think the front of every application should say......


  2. #2
    FyredUp Guest



    It isn't only in the south. I am a career FF and in every recruit class after mine I have seen at least 1 or 2 of the type you mention. I came from another career FD with 7 years in and when I started here I kept my mouth shut and was busy all the time for the first year. I still am one of the first to wash or help wash rigs and do station duties. I think the big difference is many of the "old timers" had other jobs before becoming FF's and many of the new FF's just don't have that real world life experience.

    It's a sad thing.....


  3. #3
    FireRebel Guest


    I am 25 years old and would be considered a gen-xer, just want to say I see those individuals who you speak of and would like to say this profession is hard enough to get into let alone the dangers involved, if you can not learn and take advise from people who have been around this buisness, then GET OUT! I have the utmost repect for people who can teach me a thing or two and would never show any disrepect....

    Jason Davis

  4. #4
    phyrngn Guest

    Red face

    I am 25 years old, and a proud member of a capital city career department. I, too, have thought about the quandary of assimilating Generation X into the fire service, and have come to conclusion that compromise is the key. Perhaps I'm atypical, but I really do enjoy having an older firefighter take me under his/her wing to teach me the ropes. I love war stories, and I respect those who have experienced those "wars." However, I have a difficult time with older folks (no lack of respect intended) on the job who consume more time and energy bitching about how the younger generation is trying to take over and that we want to be the boss immediately instead of training us. We are your responsibility...just learn to change your approach slightly. My department has taken steps to correct this problem by educating all Generations on the department (and we have them boomers, pre-WWII folks, Generation X-ers, and soon, Generation Y-ers.) I applaud them for this. Perhaps you'll remember that when you first came on the job, the older generations' attitude was the same. Perhaps they were less tolerant. Unfortunately for you, in this day and age, you are forced into tolerance. I have taken the traditional role...I do my "little bitch" duties as the rookie should do, and I try and keep quiet and learn from experience. If something directly affects my safety, however, there is no compromise...I will speak up. We live in a faster paced society now, and the Fire Service must parallel this. It's time that we all worked together and make our profession and training a nurturing experience. We can appreciate the past, but we can't go back. Sorry.

    My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my department or the professional organizations and associations to which I belong.

  5. #5
    FyredUp Guest



    It has little to do with tolerance and much to do with respect. We all who came before you did those as you call "bitch" jobs. We learned from and respected those who came before us. Of course some of them were *******s, most weren't. I can hardly expect a guy with 10 or 20 years on to scrub toilets when a probie is in the house.

    The whole thing is what will you do when you have 20 years on? Will you have the same attitude as you have now? Or will you expect the new cubs to do the "bitch" jobs for you?

    Tolerance is one thing....loss of respect and understanding the pecking order is another. Just remember the reputation you build in that first year will last a career.

    Take care and stay safe,


  6. #6
    mark440 Guest


    I too, am a Gen-Xer. I am 20 years old, been on the job for 2 years now. I gladly take all the "Bitch" jobs that I can, simply because I am a 'Boot' in my dept, and I feel I need to earn the respect of my Senior FF's. NOW, we have recently taken 4 new probies on our dept in the last 8 months and, I have been given the opprtunity of field training 3 of them. Just because they figure they are anywhere from 4-6 years older than I with absolutely NO fire experiance, that they don't think I am capable of this. Now, in my dept I have made tons of progress and am in the top 5 individuals that average the most calls at any given time. Just by volunteering to take the 2nd due rig, whether it is the Engine or the Squad, we tend to get the better calls because the 1st out is on a call already. These new folks must think that my age keeps me from having a fair amount of experiance in my short two years on the job. They try to laugh and argue with my advise and lessons. So the disrespect also happens to some of us Gen-Xers also. Don't think it happens to just the old guys.


    If in doubt - Call us out

  7. #7
    Lt.Todd Guest


    Great responses.Just a few comments though.
    Those rookie duties suck, but they are also a vital part of everyday living in the fire station. There are still many days that I help clean floors and equipment around our station, I have made my personal policy to never assign a duty that Iam not willing to do or help with.It is these types of things that I made this post for.
    The day I entered the station I never thought of scrubbing a toilet a bitch duty,just a basic every day need to help keep my station clean!
    For the young man who thinks he so highly qualified to train new probies.WRONG! There is no way that 2 years makes you qualified to teach.You may be to instruct on house duties and department policies, but thats it.I totally understand why a probie may question your ability.Your chief should re-evaluate this decision.Iam not saying your skills are'nt there, just your experience.

    Keep it coming guy's

    Lt.Todd Edwards/AFD

  8. #8
    Lieutenant Gonzo Guest


    I have the same thoughts as Lt. Todd. I contribute my share of the duties when it comes to housework, vehicle and equipment checks. There are those fire officers who feel that these duties are beneath them but I feel that it builds camaraderie. I have to live in the firehouse 2 days and 2 nights a week, and I want to live in a clean house!

    Phyrngn made a valid point...every generation of firefighters that have been appointed have been looked at with a critical eye and told "you rookies are going to ruin this job". I beleive in respecting the experiences of our older firefighters, but I also beleive that they are paid to do the same job as I do and they have to put in their share of the work and training. Just because someone has 20 something years on does not exempt that person from doing their fair share.

    Mark 440 feels that he's qualified to train the newbies with 2 years on the job...there are 25+ year firefighters that aren't qualified to teach anybody anything! They are the dinosaurs who cry and complain about everything they have to do and only want to fight fires and collect their paychecks or they are the know-it-alls who have been there, done that (ironically sounds like some Gen-Xer's, doesn't it?) I have 18+ years in and I am still learning something new every day!

    There are still dedicated people who want to come on the job...some are gen-x, some are baby long as they pay their dues and keep their eyes and ears open and learn, I don't care if they were raised on the Beach Boys or the Beastie Boys!

    We boldly go where no one else dares...
    take care and stay safe
    Lt. Gonzo

    [This message has been edited by Lieutenant Gonzo (edited June 04, 2000).]

  9. #9
    mark440 Guest


    First off, apparently I do have some experiance, and have earned the respect of the Chief and have his approval. Why would he put me in such a position if I am not "Seasoned" enough for it? Compared to the Lt in Atlanta, no I do not even compare to his experiance. But here in this Valley and community I have a fair amount. For example, the firefighters here do not get much Wildland Fire experiance here, but I have been out over 400 hours already this year on Wildland fires, all of which were in addition to my routine Fire Dept duties. This year alone my numbers outdue the guys' wildland experiance for the past 2 years. They don't like them, and I do it for the experiance. And by the way, did I mention the firefighter with the most years on the job here has 12? That is the chief. 4-8 years on the job is where the majority of our guys sit right now. We have a dept of 30 members. So, my 2 years certainly does not compare to 25+ but, for my dept, the 2 years is a fair amount of experiance given our call volume.
    As mentioned above, I was in NO WAY saying that I was qualified to train these people. Chosen by the Chief.


    The comments made here are not offical represention of my dept or members, only mine.

    [This message has been edited by mark440 (edited June 05, 2000).]

    [This message has been edited by mark440 (edited June 05, 2000).]

  10. #10
    FireMedicHarding Guest


    This is a perfect example of preaching to the choir! The "Gen-x'rs" that visit these forums generally are the ones in it for the love of the job and follow the path that others have taken and love it without fail. It isn't just the generation x workers with the problem though. I see guys and girls in the 30-35 range just getting into the business that have that same attitude and just won't listen. It isn't the attitude of 1 generation of people, it is an attitude that has been around for a long time that has started to surface with the fire service drastically increasing its numbers in the past years. Those people have always been out there but since we are hiring more and more, they have gotten a chance to work among those of us that enjoy busting our hump for the love of the job.
    What really needs to happen in every recruit school is the show of total discipline to bring the recruit to the realization that if they are going to have an attitude then they are going to get canned! Recruits BEWARE! Departments are willing to make an example of you if you are a hack firefighter. YOU WILL BE FIRED!
    For the rest of us though..... stay safe!

    Joe Harding
    Fishers Professional Firefighters Local 416

  11. #11
    E229Lt Guest


    Let's not overlook the senior men. There was a time these guys didn't let a Johnny get out of line. Seems now the 2 year man is breaking in the proby and teaching him nothing while the senior guys look on.
    I don't know where the chain broke, but, I'm guessing attrition has taken away our real teachers.
    It's up to us, as officers, to get our senior guys reinvolved in the grooming of a new proby. We teach and drill, but the senior guys must fine tune the attitude.
    I'm not so sure the hard hazing was a bad idea.

  12. #12
    phyrngn Guest


    Just the other day, our old "drillmaster" came into the station. He is 80-some years old, and retired (I believe in the late 80's, early 90's) after 40 years on the job. Let me tell you, that I have nothing but the utmost respect for this man. I could sit all day and listen to the stories he tells...he makes everyone laugh and proves that there is one quality about the fire service that has not transcended any generation...that is the fact that we are all in this experience together, and when the final bell tolls, it's those "good" memories that make this such a great career. However, I also want to thank MarlboroughMan for seeing my point...and also apologize to the rest of the posters for using the word "bitch" as describing my peon duties...perhaps that was too strong a term. My main point is not to discount us Gen-X'ers...teach us and mold us...but also learn that like the WWII generation and BabyBoomers (and even the upcoming Generation Y and Z 'ers) that we have our own Contributions to make...and the older generations helped to mold those contributions.

  13. #13
    CFDexplr Guest


    In my department we really don't have that problem. We joke around alot, but when it comes to ordres from an oficial thats how it goes. One time we went to a call, a BS call and some guy at the place was like, "What you one of those generation X firemem"? I was like, no buddy, I'm just standing here cause your too stupid to turn of your stove!. I really didn't say that, but I wish I did. I was standing there, cause There was nothing for me to do. People. Jees

  14. #14
    resqb Guest


    Let's not place all the blame on the newbies. Part of the problem is the senior men too. If their attitude is "screw this place", or "I'm just here for the check", then the new guys under him will have the same attitude.
    Personally, I was taken aside by the senior man on the engine co I was first assigned to, told my duties, then we all went to work on the house. Although I still haven't figured out how the probie got kitchen before being assigned the lavatory.
    We gen-x ers that care are given a bad name by those that wanna pilot a lazy-boy all day. And as for going into rook school with a know it all attitude, well I had 11 yrs of volunteer service before I got my paid gig, and I went into school like I didn't know a thing. That's the way it has to be in this job in my opinion.
    And by the way Lt.Todd, I'll come work for ya, just give me the dish soap. After you teach me the bullshi*t, then you can teach me how to fight fire. HMMMMMMMMMM...Report from Engine Co 82 all over again...everything is cyclical.

  15. #15
    Kissmibut Guest


    hate to say it LT but its not just firefighting,its alot of different jobs.Im only 29 and I do see what you mean but its not just firefighting its all different jobs.When I came on you were expected to do all the crap jobs,its your turn,everyone else on there had to do it when they came on and now its your turn,everyone got a turn when they came on.But its not all new recruits,we still have some real workers coming on but we surely got some that think they are there on scholarship too.

  16. #16
    iresq Guest


    There is another dimension to this issue, that of tradition. It appears that the younger ff's don't care to learn and value the traditions of the fire service. There were very few young ff's at the last couple of non-lodd funerals I attended. When I first joined the fire service years ago, this type of activity was expected and I learned to respect it. Now it seems to be more of an inconvience than anything else. Sad.

  17. #17
    Thoe1 Guest


    For all X'ers

    Your doing it right if your doing it
    FOR HIM !!!

  18. #18
    SEFD117 Guest


    I am a 27 uear-old career Firefighter/Paramedic from Illinois and please believe me when I say that the problem is not only in the South. I started my career as a paid-on-call FF/PM and tested my rear off for nearly two and a half years before catching my first full-time job. I kept at it because my desire was to be a full-timer and to do the job, not simply have the job. I've been full-time for three years now and have noticed a change in my fellow "twenty-something" FF's since I began my career. My department is combination and I notice that when new POC's come on they expect to take one or two tests and be hired immediately. When it doesn't happen that way they can't understand why. When I tell them how long it took me to get my first break they look at me like I was crazy for keeping at it.
    The other major difference I notice is that they all want "paper" before they learn anything about their new job. We have guys with twice as many certificates as time on the job. Let me stress, I AM NOT ANTI-EDUCATION! I am very much pro-education. I simply believe that you have to learn how to do the basics of your job well before you move on to other things. Most of the newer guys get certificate after certificate thinking it will help them get hired, which it may, but I don't think they really have the skills behind those certs.
    Very interesting points and many good replies. Thanks for starting this forum.

    [This message has been edited by SEFD117 (edited July 08, 2000).]

  19. #19
    330-JCFD Guest


    I am glad I found this on the forum! I have just been talking about this situation today. I am a 26 y/o with 3 years career experience and 7 additional years volunteer experience. I have found that the "here for a check" people in my department are the people who have been here for more that 5-6 yrs. I would say that 80% of the firefighters with 5-6 yrs. experience are the ones that do the least. I think that the reason for this is because the leadership of the day was part of era when it was acceptable to not study or keep yourself informed. I know that when it is time to drill the generation x-er are the individuals that show the most interest.

    I agree with a comment I saw in another reply. It is possible to ruin a good firefighter by placing him along side some of the "dead weight". I have seen this happen in my department, however, it seems that if the younger firefighter is "resuced" they can be changed.

    My belief is that in order for a department to move forward and leave the "its a job" ideas behind, we all must examine ourselves. I believe that if I am going to complain about the current state of the fire service I must make SURE I do not mirror the things I am complaining about. I have also found that these "paycheck seekers" need to be told their ideas are wrong!




  20. #20
    scafd417 Guest


    Well I can see a lot of good points here. Depending on what department you come from may depend on who is a Gen X. When I first Joined the fire department 8 yrs ago the fire departments were going through a lot of OSHA, State, and Local rules and guideline changes, and this really pi**ed off some of the "old timers" You had a big gap of 40-50 year olds then all of a sudden there were some 18-25 yrs olds joining. Of course all the "old timers" as they were called got on us especially me and another guy just coming off the departments Explorers group. Basically because we wanted to learn, we wanted to know how this worked and how that was run and tried to get some extra training on this and that. This really enraged some of the "old timers" and some of them started to quit. I don’t think it was because of us, it was more or less because or the "change in times" i.e. More Training, No Fascial Hair, No Beer in the station and Oh yeah a line of duty death. I know this because my Father was a veteran for 17 yrs before he retired. He told me the reason the guys rode us so much was because
    1) They felt they were being pushed out
    By a new breed, a group of young eager "kids" who had been taught the new laws and the new latest tech. ways to fight fire. I.e Vent before you attack
    2) They were set in there ways; they knew what was best because "they had been doing it since you were a glimmer in your daddy's eye"
    3) A lose of a Brother really hit home and instead of admitting they were hurt or couldn’t go on any more because of this; the blame would be pushed of to us.

    Well I am now a Senior Lt and the other Guy is the Department Captain. Wanting to learn and asking a lot of questions is a good thing, the more you learn the better you will be in the end. But acting like you know it all "is” going to p**s some people off. Play dumb a little listen to what these "old timers" have to say, Hell I might be considered an "old timer" and with us working together we might just teach each other something.

    I must agree though that if one is in it for the check; GET THE HELL OUT,

    Lt. Daivd J. Plumb

  21. #21
    Quigs Guest


    I think it all comes down to just what you want to get out of this job, and how much it means to you. Whaether it's a new guy or an older guy, I'm sure we all have the guys on the shift that don't belong... But I'm sure a lot of us have shifts that always seem to produce better firefighters or officers than others.

    The younger guys coming on the shift are the future of the department. If they get treated fairly, are well-trained, get the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with a good shift, and are well-disciplined, they have a better chance of growing than they do if they are not treated fairly, don't get good training, and lack good discipline. If a guy comes to work on a shift with a bunch of bums... eventually he's going to fall into that groove.... just how deep into the groove he falls is up to us.

  22. #22
    Doo600 Guest


    You people can't be that closed minded to believe that it has something to do with Generation X. I am a Gen-Xer(and proud), and officer on our medium sized department. I've seen these guys you talk about come and go. I've also seen the older ones treat the new guys like crap and when they take a stand and say they aren't going to take it anymore, the older guys say that he's a Gen-Xer with an attitude problem. Fact is, it's a personal problem. Now, I'm no psychologist but I believe it comes down to how you were raised and how you respect others. I also partially agree with Fyredup when he says these guys come into the job never having a real job on the outside. The idiots of the department get a hold of him and tell him to rise up and fight the system causing turmoil. My point is saying that it's the Gen Xer's is no better than judging a black man strictly because of his color or a asian person because they have different looking eyes. Stop judging a generation and start judging the individual, we all work in the most respected job on earth and if we can lead by example the whole world just might follow. Keep the city safe!

  23. #23
    fyrpilot Guest


    Last year I was assigned to work with a guy who had 27 years on the job (I had 3). He was hired when I was 3 weeks old so there was a signifigant age difference. This turned out to be my best experience yet as I learned quite a few "tricks of the trade". I respected his experience, followed his advice and combined it with my training to become a better firefighter. He has since retired and is missed dearly.
    Unfortunately, there are quite a few "old timers" who do not want to do the job as its required today (ie.. EMS, public service calls, etc...). So many of us "new" guys only know the fire service in this way and I can see where the friction can come from. I guess both sides need to open their eyes and lighten up a little.
    Remember, this is the BEST job there is!

  24. #24
    pmedic5424 Guest


    I can definitely understand your viewpoint. I guess I'm considered a "Gen-Xer" being 24 years old. I don't know if it's a southern problem, since I work right below you, in Clayton County. However, I think it's more the quality of the people being hired, not the age. I have been in the fire service for 5 years, and I definitely did my share of scrub work. I think it's paying your dues. Besides, someone who's been there a while undoubtedly went through the same "abuse" before I did. My theory is that the highly "PC" world we live in is affecting station life. You can't say, do or even think anything without offending or degrading someone. I think it's ridiculous. And some of the people coming into the fire service today recognize this, and use it to their advantage. It's the way of the world now, and the firehouse just can't adjust to this. We are being forced to run stations like a business office, and it can't be done. We eat, sleep, study, LIVE at our jobs, and can't be compared to any other occupation. This is the environment we are hiring from, and the new wave of employees, with their new outlooks and rules of acceptance, are clashing with the older, more experienced veterans. The pecking order is scrambled in this situation, and it's a shame. It was a good tool to bring young people into an occupation that depends on order and discipline to succeed. I was brought up by a very experienced crew, who did it their way, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

  25. #25


    i have 6 years in and I believe that if everyone does their job be it a Lt., Capt.,F.F., Probie, or the Chief himself, If their is a job to be done DO IT! don't complain about it because the job is a pee on job and it is beneth you (There is no such thing). If you are standing around hearing the rookie train the probies HELP HIM!!!! insted of criticize
    We all forget that we must count on each other either training, at the house, and at the big ones.
    Above all we need to grow up! be it gen.x pre WW-2, baby boomers, 49ers whatever..
    we all have a job to do people and that is to protect the citizens of you communities.
    and it's equipment they "buy" for you. So quit complaining and do it!
    and about Gen-X wich I am proud to be part i can say we don't know it all. and if we don't shut up and listen we will repeat those mistakes wich were warned about.

    [This message has been edited by BOMBERODAVE (edited September 01, 2000).]

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