This is for all you people from rookie on up to 25+yr veterans on the job. I was recently hired for firefigher position. I'm finding or thinking the hardest part of being hired will not be fulfilling my actual firefighter duties or academy (which I'm in now and graduate from in May) but to fit in with all the guys at the firehouse. Its hard.
To start, I was hired by the same town I volunteered for 3.5yrs. Before being hired, the career guys SERIOUSLY disliked the vol. company I was with. I have been told personally to my face by career guys in my volly days "I dont like you b/c your from this vol. co." For a few reasons they dont like the company or people in it. Basically I'm guilty by association. These guys have no idea who I am or no reason to dislike me. So 3.5 yrs later (currently) I get hired by the same town I vollied for. First of all I find it difficult b/c I'm bearing a huge black "x" b/c of the co. I was with and associating with the people from that co. Secondly these particular guys seem to be harder to click with. Some houses that I visited in other towns before being hired seems really nice. "Hey, where ya from, how are you, etc etc etc" These guys at the dept where I was hired at don't even want to acknowledge me. A few guys have said "hey welcome aboard" and tried to show me the ropes but must dont seem to give a crap about me and I think half of it is b/c I'm a probie and half is b/c of the volly co. I'm from. I'm know I barely know these guys but I feel soooo alienated and out of place when I go to the firehouse. I dread it sometimes. I feel like once on shift they will mess with me so bad even beyond normal firehouse hazing that goes with being a newbie
So my problem/question is how do I get in good my first few days/month years, any tips to getting through my first year or so, and how do I deal with the people who just seem as if they give 2 sh*ts about me. I know alot of my career will be all on me to get in good with the guys, I know its a wierd inntiation for all new guys to the brotherhood, and I know they will not change for me I will have to change for them. So knowing its 90% my problem to fit in and make a smooth career I'm not looking to chnage them but what can I do? Thanx for reading, please reply
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Thread: NEED HELP! New to the job
04-08-2004, 10:29 PM #1
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
NEED HELP! New to the job
04-10-2004, 10:30 AM #2
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- San Francisco Bay Area
You're a snott nose rookie. Take the poison early and get over it. Be all ears and no mouth. You're not the first or will be the last one who has been stung with the political aspects of being a volunteer and hired on as a full timer. You're best offense is to be the best firefighter possible.
A medic has a friend on my sons department. As the medic was hired his friend told him don't be surprised when I'm not your friend for awhile until you prove yourself. The guy said he understood. Well, he thought he understood. When his so called friend continued to treat him like a real snott nose rookie, he was really shocked. Don't be shocked.
This might help:
"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you."
What you do when you first start out will set your reputation and follow you throughout your career. If you don't start out on the right foot, they will show you the door. The crew already knows more about you before you show up than you think.
Use these standards as a new rookie to demonstrate you already know what to do when hired:
You're a snotty nose rookie. Keep your mouth shut. Be cordial, friendly and humble. You have no time or opinion until you earn it. You can't force it. That will come with a lot of calls and a few fires.
Cell phones are causing problems for candidates and rookies. I can't believe the stories I'm hearing. Candidates are carrying their cell phones and pagers to written tests. A candidate was in a department academy and his cell phone starts to ring. He told the training officer, can you hold on a minute, I have a call. Yeah, right. The training officer told the class the next time he hears a cell phone go off, they were going to play who can throw the cell phone the furthest.
On an emergency call, the BC was trying to raise dispatch without success on the radio. The rookie took his cell phone, speed dialed dispatch and handed his cell phone to the BC. Cute? Smart? Innovative? That's not the reception he received.
Rookies are carrying their cell phones and pagers on duty. Their phone rings, they answer it and go right into cell yell with their friends and relatives. Wives, girl friends and dysfunctional others call all day long with important stuff and to do pillow talk. Cell phones are ringing in locker rooms. Some try to be cool by putting their cell phones and pagers on vibrate or stun. Even though they might not answer them when they go off, they still pick them up to check the caller ID or the text message. Then when they think no one is looking, they slip off and return the call. THIS IS DUMB! These are not part of your emergency issue.
This will not get you off on the right foot. Big clue here. Leave the electronic leashes off and in your vehicle, along with your piercings, until a time where all your duties are complete. No matter what you might think and how friendly everyone seems to be, you are being watched! It could hurt you big time.
If you have an emergency situation, ask your officer if you can carry your phone because you are expecting an emergency call.
Call your new captain before your first shift and ask if he wants you to bring anything in. Bring a peace offering of donuts and desert your first day. Homemade is best. Arrive early and ask the off-going firefighter what you should know at that station. Your new captain should meet with you to outline his expectations. If not, ask him.
Unless you're told differently, put up and don't forget to take down the flag. If the phone or the doorbell rings, make sure you're the first one running to answer it. There will be certain duties on each day of the week. Tuesday could be laundry day, Saturday yards. Keep track. Stay busy around the station. Always be in a clean proper uniform. Always be ready to get on the rig and respond.
Check out the gear on the rig each morning. Make sure the 02 gauge and the reserve bottle shows enough to handle a long EMS call.
Firefighters usually have "Their" place to sit at the table and in front of the TV. Don't hog the newspaper. The off-going shift has the first crack at the newspaper. You probably have probation tests. Don't park yourself in front of the TV; you have a test coming up. Stay busy. No matter what the atmosphere, you're being watched.
Although you might be a good cook, don't volunteer to cook until asked or rotated in. Make sure your meals are on time. The old adage "Keep them waiting long enough and they will eat anything" doesn't apply here. Be the last one to serve your plate. Don't load up your plate the first time around. Wait to go for seconds.
Always have your hands in the sink doing the dishes after a meal. Be moving out with the garbage and mopping the kitchen floor after each meal.
Learn how to help the officer complete response reports.
Don't tell jokes until you're accepted.
Don't play "Your" music on the radio. Don't be a stupid generation X'er or Y’er and always ask why when told to do something. Help others' with their assignments when you finish yours.
Ask how you're doing. Volunteer for assignments. Keep track of these to present at your evaluations.
Don't start pulling hose and other equipment at a scene until the captain tells you.
Always get off the rig before it backs up. Stand to the rear side to guide the rig. Never turn your back on the backing up rig.
It's not uncommon to move to one or more stations during your probation. At your new station, don't act like you already have time. Unfortunately, you have to start all over again as the new rookie.
You will have an elated feeling rolling out on your first calls. There is nothing like it. It could last your whole career. Enjoy and savor it. You earned it. You're the last of America’s Heroes.
I miss it.
Last edited by CaptBob; 04-11-2004 at 07:34 AM.
04-11-2004, 10:53 AM #3
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
Thank you CaptBob! Not to be on the defensive be are you calling me a snottnose rookie or just generalizing? Only reason I ask is b/c if I come off that way maybe I should need to change my attitude/myself especially before going on shift. Like I said, not to be defensive but more to change myself if it true. Its funny, apparently my oral board made a note to my chief saying I was cocky at my oral to the point where it may affect my job as ff. I beg to differ, I believe it was confidence that went over board which in turn seemed like cockiness. Anyways, once my chief told me that I was shocked and immediately started a new attitude adjustment. I have no problem with the guys who claim to "dislike" me and my company. I'm trying to hit the ground running and be the best I can. I know as it stand right now I'm pond scum being the rookie and all. I would give/do anything to be well-accepted by the veterans on shift. Knowing that I'm bearing the black "x" as I stated before pointers like you have given me are what I'm looking for to make my rookie period as easy/smooth as possible. I swear I could make a book on do's and dont's of being a rookie. My instructors tell me little hints while at the academy I actually go to write them down so I dont forget and can use them later. Thanx again CaptBob.
04-12-2004, 06:05 PM #4
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- San Francisco Bay Area
Thank you CaptBob! Not to be on the defensive be are you calling me a snottnose rookie or just generalizing?
Perception is everything though. If the panel thought you came across as being cocky, your instructor is dropping you hints, and even though you don’t think you were defensive with: I beg to differ, I believe it was confidence that went over board which in turn seemed like cockiness; You might want to take a re-evaluation of what might be going between the 4 inches between your ears before these folks start eating you alive.
You said, “I would give/do anything to be well-accepted by the veterans on shift.”
A good place to begin: Attitude is a small thing that can make such a huge difference. Attitude is your rudder through life.
04-17-2004, 03:32 AM #5
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
ok, thanx again CaptBob.
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