a new training acadamy starts soon; somehow, The Providence fire Department will survive…
"Thousands of people will apply for your job when you leave, get over it, you are nothing special"
How many times have you heard that one? Too many is my guess. When a fire department needs people the usual path to finding qualified personnel is to advertise the position. Any good sized department will likely be bombarded with applications. Indeed, thousands will apply.
It's a little different "applying" for a job and actually doing the job you "applied" for. People with decades of experience; people who came to work, and "applied" themselves, every day, day after day leave the ranks when their time is done, making room for the next generation of firefighter. Thankfully, you and thousands do apply, because a big pool of applicants is needed to find the people who are truly ready to apply themselves.
Before I was hired as a firefighter I had a lot of jobs, and worked with all kinds of different people. A prevalent comment when the job at hand was difficult or hazardous or plain old nasty is "they don't pay me enough to do that,” and the job simply would not get done. And the guys that didn't get paid enough to do that job would quit, or get fired and "apply" for another job that they would work at, and do their time, and punch out at the end of the day never having applied themselves.
There isn't anything wrong with that. Some people are simply not that complicated, and find contentment just getting by, collecting their pay and leaving when their day is done. Many of these are the people who apply for the job of firefighter, and never finish the application process.
We seldom hear about the thousands that forget to show up for the entrance exam, fail the background check, fail the physical agility test or simple do not finish high enough on the list to get hired. A lot of people are willing to "take" our job, not many could "do" our job. A lot of good firefighters have retired from my department over the last year; they leave a giant hole in skill, leadership and personality. Thousands have applied to take their place; hopefully in those ranks will be people with the potential to fill the void.
Only a few of those who applied will be capable and willing and able to stand in front of a fully involved building, turn in their pack, mask up, force the door, find the fire and put it out. Or pull the bloody, barely breathing victim from the rubble, and wash off the blood when the job is done.
The few don't say, "They don't pay me enough." The few go in, and get dirty, and get the job done. The few will eventually fill the shoes of the ones who came before them, and follow their footsteps into places the rest would never go.
Here's to "The Few," coming, and especially to those going. There will always be those who could have, would have and should have done our jobs, and those people will relentlessly attack our position, pension, pay and benefits, even our time off. Don’t let the bastards get you down, because you know, and I know, and deep down inside, where what it takes to put on the uniform either remains buried, safe and sound, or struggles to the top, gets dressed and goes to work, that we are here because we earned it, and they did not.
Thanks for showing up.