I would really appreciate some good advise from people who know.
I was a volunteer FF in a combination department about 6 years ago and really enjoyed doing it so I decided I wanted to be a career FF. I tested whenever I could in the area (4 states) while finishing college. I graduated from college and got a very good job in my field (good moneywise) but continued to test with fire departments. So now, after some more testing I am getting very very close get getting an offer with a fire department, however, it pays much less money and would require a move. I never want to let money rule my life but it still is a small consideration.
Questions: 1) How did you end up becoming a firefighter and would you do it again? What, if anything, would make you leave.
I would greatly appreciate even the smallest piece of advise from anyone.
Thanks so much ahead of time.
[ 01-07-2002: Message edited by: NSC ]
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01-07-2002, 09:09 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- Great Plains
In need of helpful advise please.
01-08-2002, 02:04 AM #2
- Join Date
- Apr 2001
Money isn't everything, but I think you know that. If becoming a career firefighter is your dream then go for it. If you don't do it you'll probably be wondering about it or regret not doing it for the rest of your life. Getting paid to ride a fire truck, life is good. After all you did it for free when you vollied. Atleast let them offer you the job, this will give you more time to think about your decision. This job is bigger than money. Good luck to you.
01-08-2002, 02:31 AM #3
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! After 21 years I can still say I love my job. I still get a kick seeing a big colum of smoke as we're rolling down the road and still look forward to the next one when its over. Here are a few things I would consider. Where do I want to live and raise my kids? How far am I willing to drive to work? I drive 272 miles one way (don't ask its a long story). Big City FD or Small Town FD? I say Big City, more money,more fires,more promotional opportunities,more varied work locations.As far as what would make me leave. I'm not sure , the politicians and chiefs ( same thing) have been trying to take the fun out of the job for some time now, but its still a great way to make a living. Hope this helps. Good luck whatever you do.
01-08-2002, 04:37 PM #4
This is not a profession where you will get rich, not even close. You can always use your college degree and work your leave day and you should do quite well that way.
I'm second generation and never wanted to do any thing else for a living. My son is 3rd and loves it as much as I do.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
What would make me leave? Well in two words right now, my demise, other than that, until I just can't physically do the job anymore. Theres also forced retirement at age 60.
I've got 29 years and can stay another 10, time will tell how long I last. It's a very demanding job physically and it kind of forces you to take care of yourself. All I can say is go for it.
01-08-2002, 05:47 PM #5
Money was never an option for me, I did this job for free for many years, when I first started getting paid, then I could not believe it, actually getting paid to do what I love to do, WOW.
I took a major pay cut to become part of the City Fire Department I am now on a more happier, to sacrifise a little pay and be more happy on the job I think is a major consideration.
After 19 years in the fire service now, I am starting to change a little bit, if an agency wants to pay me 20K more for doing the same thing I am doing them I might consider making the move. But keep in mind this is still in the Fire Service. The dedication to one employer thing is starting to waver for me these days, if a good promotional opp or good pay raise op comes up, I might put in for it.Front line since 1983 and still going strong
01-08-2002, 10:27 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
- Houston area
First, everybody's different, so your concerns may not be the same as mine. I became a volunteer firefighter while I was in high school and fell in love with it. I never considered it much as a career then because I just didn't think I would be happy on a firefighter's pay. After a couple of years of college, I began to think differently. I missed being back home and fighting fires. I enjoyed college, but it always felt really good to go home and hang out at the fire station with my buddies. I hated school, but did pretty well at it anyways. I felt more and more that I was being called to firefighting as a profession, but vowed to finish school before committing to anything. I dropped out for one semester to go to fire school, promising mysef to enroll in summer school to make up for it. At that point I wanted to get certified to keep my options open, still considering an engineering related field like I was studying. The closer to graduating I got, the more sure I became that I wasn't meant to have a "real" job. I got very lucky in finding a firefighting job very close to the time I got my B.S. degree. Now, the degree hangs on the wall and does little else. I love my job, and most everything about my life. I don't plan on using the degree, but it's there if I ever need it. Hope that helps.These are my opinions and not those of the organizations for which I work and/or volunteer.
01-13-2002, 02:47 AM #7
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
- Fairfield County, CT.
I`d do it again and again and again.If GOD lets me I`ll come back and do it some more. I to took a pay cut but that didn`t matter I was doing what I loved and there`s nothing better than that.You can always supplement your income on your days off doing whatever you want.The company I left went bankrupt a few years after I left ,where would I be now ? A scary thought.GO FOR IT .GOOD LUCK.Lead,Follow or Get out of the way.
01-13-2002, 11:38 PM #8
Life's too short to waste time on making money. If you can adjust your lifestyle in order to do the job you'll love to do, then do so!
01-14-2002, 12:00 AM #9
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
i agree with every one else. I took a pay cut to become a firefighter. but it was well worth it. i have been able to make up the diffrence on my days off but thats been 16 years ago and at that time my wife and i did not have children now we do and shes been able to stay home with them and be there when they get home from school. it would take alot for me to leave this great job. i would have to say take the plunge and you won't regret it. good luck
01-14-2002, 03:57 AM #10
After watching my first episode of Rescue 8, (yes I know that really dates me) I knew I wanted to be a firefighter. After 25 years of numerous twists and turns in my life's journey, I finally was able to join the local volunteer fire department. That led to going full at a much larger department.
Like others have mentioned, I too took a pay cut when I went full time. And...there were six mouths to feed on a single income.
Would I do again? You bet !!!BE SAFE
Before Everything, Stop And First Evaluate
01-14-2002, 11:32 PM #11
I must be the odd ball because I almost doubled my sallary when I got hired here. I had a real crap job. But I do think that the only concideration when it comes to money is ...is your family going to suffer. That is all it would take for me. As far as your question on leaving this job goes they would have to drag me out (until I retire)."What makes a person run into a building others are running out of?...Character."- Dennis Smith
01-15-2002, 09:18 AM #12
- Join Date
- May 2000
- Fishers, IN
NSC, I too came into the fire service similiar to the path you are taking. I had been a volunteer while in college, graduated, went to work in my field of study, still volunteering. It just got to the point of where I was so much happier while I was at the fire house. I personally couldn't stand my job before, so it was easy to take the nearly $15,000/yr. pay cut. Money isn't everything, I can assure you one thing: You will never wake up in the morning not wanting to go to work, not many people can say that. As far as any reasons for leaving, well I can't really fathom that, I love my job! I wouldn't change any decision's I made to get to this point either.
Stay Safe & Good Luck with your decision
01-15-2002, 02:11 PM #13
Having been both a paid on call and a fulltime firefighter, I feel I can give you some insight. Firefighting is one of the best jobs in the world.The money is pretty good and there is security (after probation). I beacme a fulltime firefighter in the town where I was a POC.There is a BIG difference when you switch over. Like it or not, it does become a "job". That dosent mean you are less dedicated or only in it for the money. In my experience there have been members who are only in it for the steady paycheck and it shows on the fireground and in the firehouse. Be sure you have the support of your spouse/significant other. The pay cut may cause problems. When I say it becomes a "job" I mean that it is your primary source of income, albeit a GREAT way to earn a buck. Good Luck and I say..Take the job you wont regret it!
01-15-2002, 02:26 PM #14
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
NSC. I've been in your shoes and have some regret. It's a bit of a story, bit sit tight, it's worth it.
My father is a retired Captain from FDNY. My Grandfather is a retired Chief from FDNY. We never had a lot of money when I was groing up, my father usually had a second income.
Back in the mid 80's just as I was getting set to go away to college and my father handed me an application to take the FDNY test. I decided not to take the test and continue on with college. I also knew there would be another opportunity to take the exam. Six years later I had another opportunity. By this time I was married, had a kid, and gainfully employed in one of my fathers side businesses. I planned to make his business, my business.
I told my family I wanted to take the test. No one wanted me to, even my father. He said I would never be able to make the same money. I'd be forced to work two jobs. I took the test. I did very well. But, my wife did not want me to become a NY firefighter. So when they called me to go for the physical, I didn't go. I told her that when we settle down and by a house, I wanted to become a volunteer.
The Business was doing well, my wife and I bought a house. I went to the local firehouse, picked up an application and joined. It too was a combination department. When the civil service exam came up, I took it, just because. 2 1/2 years later a full time position opened up. I knew there would not be a fourth opportunity in my life to be what I've wanted to be since I was 5, and that is to be a professional firefighter.
I had a heart to heart with my family. I would take 5 years plus to match my current earnings. With a mortgage and family to support, it's a big decision. The business my father started, and we grew (with 10 employees), would probably fail without me. But, firefighting is in the blood, and it cannot be denied.
I took the job. It's been just over 1 1/2 years. I am now home more than I ever was. I have a second daughter. My wife found a great job which allows her to work from home and pays well. Meeting the bills is not as hard as we thought, though we will never be rich. When I'm off (like now 1pm Tues.) I play with the kids, do work around the house, and enjoy life. Unfortunately, the business closed. Now my father has time to enjoy retirement, and the grandkids.
Firefighting is the only job I would, and have done for free. There is no other job like it in the world. It is, by far, the greatest job in the world. I'm not working in NYC, but enlight of 9/11 maybe that's for the best. The people I work with have truely become Brothers. Nothing could make me leave.
As I stated way back at the beginning of this long story, I have some regret. I regret that I didn't let my family know just how strong my passion was to be a professional firefighter, and that I didn't persue that passion 15 years ago.
Don't you make that same mistake!
Best of luck to you.FFD31
01-15-2002, 03:22 PM #15
Dont worry about what you will do! You have to get the offer first and then decide... I have found a happy median making quite abit more money in the private sector and volunteering for a very active Combi Department...best of both worlds in my opinion.
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