Your Story Starts Now.

One of the most sage admonishments the new candidate needs to hear is this:  “Your story starts now.”  From the moment you announce that you wish to make your living in the fire service, you will be judged on your words and actions.  These will develop a story about you going forward that will carry and get bigger in fits and starts.  Sometimes, despite your best efforts, the story will be untrue, unfair, and/or just plain wrong.  Furthermore, even if you create a great story, it can be destroyed by one act of poor judgement on your part.  Harsh, I know.
I can almost hear you muttering to yourself,  “That seems ridiculous. Its not right.  C’mon.”  This is something that everyone struggles with.  In fact, its something that people who have nothing to do with the fire service struggle with also.  Here’s the thing…
Noone cares if its fair. Noone cares what you did yesterday if you are wrong today.  Noone cares how you feel about any of this.  Again, harsh, I know.
That is the world we all live in…None more so than firefighters.
The best candidates, however, know and accept this principal and conduct themselves accordingly in their time in and out of fire related activities.  As a firefighter, you’re job never stops.  Even when you’re “off duty”, you’re identified as a firefighter, and you represent thousands of others in your firefighting family.  You are held to a higher standard than others, and it should be this way.  People allow you into their homes to care for their most precious items:  their loved ones.  Your “story” must be above reproach.  Your fellow firefighters depend on you in moments that are literally “do or die”, so you simply cannot expect any different from them either.
I could  give several examples of individuals not making it because they violated this.  I could tell even more about individuals who did exceedingly well, but forgot it and permanently cost themselves advancement or even their career.  I think i’d rather tell you how to ensure you never “forget” and do something that you regret.
Never do anything that you don’t want to see on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper.

Its not easy, but it is truly as simple as that. If you can remember that statement, then you’ll develop a story over time that you’d love to be in.  In fact, take a moment and imagine how that story ends by following this simple principal.  Where are you?  How did you get there?  What was the journey like? Pretty great, huh.
Now go write that story every day for the next twenty years!
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4 Responses

  1. Paul Card Says:
    December 19th, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    My pleasure, frostwire. Ask any questions you like, and i’ll try and get a post up about them.

    Best Regards,


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