1. #1
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    Default Firefighting, job or vocation?

    Let me preface this by saying I am a young gun, I'm 20 YO and have been an EMT/FF for less than 2 years.

    My question to ALL of you is:

    Lately I have noticed a lot of people refer to firefighting as meerly "a job". They no longer view it as a vocation, a calling, a duty or as service, just a job like any other.

    I do not think this makes these people bad firefighters automaticly, but I really think it is not the best attitude to have. I think a job such as ours requires more than the want to exchange your service for dollars, it needs heart and dedication.

    Do you view firefighting as:

    A: One of the best jobs in the world that is composed of a tremendus medley of technical skills, teamwork, thought, emotion and duty.

    B: A highly specialized technical skill based job, not unlike rebuilding transmissions, but special in its own, unique way.

    Maybe I just need to give it some time, but I think if you are not still thrilled in some way that you are a firefighter, and the sound of the alarm bell may as well as be the door chime at a 7-11 as far as you are concerned, maybe you should look for a job you can put your heart into.

    Does this make any sense? What do you think?
    "Plan for the worst, hope for the best"

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    It's a craft -- a blend of art and science.

    While many individual aspects can be understood scientifically, and mathematics can be a great ally...

    There still remains a big part that is "art" -- creatively adapting to the situation. Sometimes it's very intangible, people can achieve the same outcome, but one guy just does it, and the other makes it look good too.

    There's many trades like that -- the people who do the best certainly know the "how", but they also understand the why (the science behind it), and they desire and ability to simply do it well.

    Like many traditional crafts, we also have an apprenticeship system although we don't call it that. But I'd betcha the system in many fire departments, and fact the career guys sleep together, have the fire departments retaining many more elements of the traditional/medevial/colonial/whatever apprenticeship system then many modern "apprentices" like electricians or plumbers do. (Side note, while we *never* use the term, our 1940s era constitution & by-laws actually lays out that a member upon completion of probationary training is promoted from Probationary Firefighter to Apprentice Firefighter)

    As to "job"...there's respectful way of referring to "the job" and disrespectful "it's a paycheck" ways...and that probably can't be inferred over the internet because the emotions can be subtle
    Last edited by Dalmatian190; 06-19-2006 at 11:27 PM.

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    Although we call it "the job" it's really a career and a craft.

    To paraphrase the original author of this thread.....

    It is one of the best jobs in the world that is composed of a tremendous medley of technical skills, teamwork, thought, emotion and duty that happens to be highly specialized and technically skill based.

    When one is in their first few years.. the adrenaline rush everytime the bells ring and the tones go off is an incredible high and as addicting as crack. When you are out of the firehouse, you feel "disconnected" .

    After a few years on the job, you mentally differentiate your response to the type of call into the" oh crap, not that place again " (can be a false alarm or a medical "frequent flier") to the "it's the "big one".

    One still feels the rush... the reaction changes.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 06-20-2006 at 06:37 PM.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    It's not a job, vocation, craft, science or anything else....only one word describes it.

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    I think a job such as ours requires more than the want to exchange your service for dollars, it needs heart and dedication.
    It's a good thing I agree with this, cuz I ain't getting no dollars for it. Of your two choices, I'd go with A.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Mostly A, but also B. After 18 years I can truly say it's the best job in the world. I love going to work and still get a charge when the bell goes off for something interesting or a good fire. Not so much for rectal bleeds anymore, though.

    I will say, however, if there's one thing I have learned is you need to seperate on and off time. No one, volunteer or career, can or should be on duty all the time so you need to differentiate your "job" from downtime for your own well being. Two years into it is like an amusement park, and I mean that in a good way.....when you can see retirement on the horizon it's important that you have something you can be just as passionate about when you no longer (hopefully) hear the bells.

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    I don't agree completely.
    A job is something you go to, make money, then go home. You leave the paper hat and name tag in your locker.
    The fireservice is a lifestyle, a calling, a reason that you were placed on this earth. Anyone can learn to flip burgers, not everyone can be a firefighter.
    A town near me sent their police to the fire academy that I teach at. They wanted public safety officers (long story for another day) what they got back were cops that know more about firefighting then other cops. They were not firefighters. Now, some were close, and could probably cross over, but most were cops with turnouts and nothing more.
    Every once in a while you hear a story about a firefighter off duty attempting a rescue from a burning structure or providing emergency care to the sick or injured, you just don't hear about that noble McDonalds employee jumping a fence to help a family cook burgers on the 4th of July.

    My vote, lifestyle

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    It was a job for me. When I had enough, about a year and a half ago, I walked away from it.
    I don't have a vocation. I have a job which pays my bills and allows me to enjoy my hobbies. I've had several jobs over the years, Truck driver, warehouse forklift operator, corrections officer and firefighter. All had their good and bad points. I think it's healthy to keep your job separate from your 'lifestyle' or hobby.
    Steve
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    "JOB" is a three letter acronym that translates to: Just Over Broke.

    When Dal said:

    It's a craft -- a blend of art and science.
    He about sums it up, which to me makes it a vocation. That being said, being a firefighter is the best employment I never got paid for!

    When asked if I would take this as a career position after I leave the army, I say "No".

    I enjoy it too much in the capacity I work it, to go to the next level. Just as I enjoyed army life during the first 10 or 15 years, but now its becoming "just a job". I still like it, but ... well it just ain't the same anymore. So why spoil a great thing?
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    I think it is more "than a career" or just a job. Of course the closer you get to retirement the more it becomes. I still think it's the best job in the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cellblock
    It was a job for me. When I had enough, about a year and a half ago, I walked away from it.
    I don't have a vocation. I have a job which pays my bills and allows me to enjoy my hobbies. I've had several jobs over the years, Truck driver, warehouse forklift operator, corrections officer and firefighter. All had their good and bad points. I think it's healthy to keep your job separate from your 'lifestyle' or hobby.
    Good point. I have to agree that it's healthy to separate your job/career from your lifestyle and hobbies.

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    I would deffinitely consider firefighting more than a job for me! I would probably have to say it is a lifestyle. I am both a volly and full paid FF. Its what I love doing, its what I have always loved to do. The majority of my friends are fireman. And since I have become a paid FF I have joined a whole new family (my firehouse and their families) So I would say yeah; its a lifestyle!

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    When I got a job as a sacker at Winn-Dixie when I was in high school, I thought it was the best thing. Than I grew up some and realized it sucked. Firefighting is something completely different from any job. There is no word, defination or anyway to describe it to someone who doesn't do it. I retired from my volunteer fire department when I didn't care about it anymore. I still enjoy the crap out of EMS as long as the patient doesn't crap on me. I do it full time and I'm proud to say that. I even do the medic thing at a volunteer EMS station. This line of work is not for everyone and I hate to see the ones that spend money trying to get into it and finding out they don't/can't do it. It doesn't matter what you call it as long as you do it and enjoy it.
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    For me, it is unquestionably "A"!

    I have had many, many jobs in my life. I have worked for others and been bored, I have successfully run my own business for over 24 years (construction/remodeling) and still not been completely satisfied. Not because of the money, and not that I lacked ability, but with my sense of personal satisfaction. I still operate the construction business on a part time basis, and last year I started a small grounds keeping service...Bills still need to be paid. But it was not until I became a firefighter, that I felt as though my true calling had been realized.

    There is no greater sense of fulfillment to me than to know I have helped someone in a way few others can. There also isn't any greater sense of pride and honor than to know I am a small part of the greatest brotherhood of professionals, so rich in tradition, that I have ever known!

    I feel fortunate to have done so many things prior to becoming a fireman. I believe I appreciate it so much more, and understand there is much more to happiness than just making a pile of money. As the old saying goes; "A man who loves his job, never has to work a day in his life."

    So for me, this is much more than a job, or a career. It is a truly a Blessing! I thank God that I am in the fire service, and I can't imagine myself being this happy doing anything else.





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    Firefighting is a way of life!

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    Default Not a job for me...

    Though I wish unfortunely circumstances of life did not give me that opportunity. So as a volunteer, a dying breed at my department, it is a vocation.

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    It's one of a very few occupations where you have a good shot at all 5 layers of Maslow's hierarchy (and don't sue me for the spelling because I'm too tired to look it up at the moment) whether you're the man with 5 bugles, or riding the jump seat.

    I know some damn good firefighters for whom this is just a job, and some **** poor ones for whom this is their dream.

    There was I time in my life where I couldn't imagine myself doing anything but this. I'm a little older and wiser now, so I can honestly say I don't want to do anything else.

    For all that random babbling, I'd have to vote A, though.
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    Glad to see so many our on the same page as me.

    The people in question are negitive for sure. They almost seem as if they are telling me I am naive for still enjoying my job as anything other than a way to rake in the cash.

    Are there any vollies out there with this attitube, seems self contradicting?

    But anyways, nice to know when I'm an old timer like some of you I will still enjoy the jab same as I do now, or maybe even better.

    Lammrover
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