Sunday, November 29, 2009

Therapy or Another Job?

OK, so I’m several posts into this blog thing and I’m beginning to wonder if I made the right decision. I started doing this for a couple of reasons. First, I have been reading a few blogs for a couple of years now like the Firegeezer, The Happy Medic, and 999Medic to name a few. I also read the blogs they list in their side bars when I get time on the weekends. Mostly it is to stay current with stories, news, and attitudes in the fire service for the students I teach. In my mind there is nothing worse than an instructor who does not know what is happening TODAY, and prefers to teach what he learned 10 or 20 years ago.
So lately, things for me have been wearing me out. Job pressures (have you heard there was a major downturn in the economy?) have cost me some income, personnel issues in our Department continue to distract me from the primary mission of serving as an effective Officer, Rules, Regs, Standards, and protocols coming down on us from every direction and level imaginable, and all falling on my skinny old shoulders. Not to mention the plan of the week that comes down from the Chief. It all gives me plenty of reason to look for an outlet or a vent portal. This was supposed to be it. Maybe not.
All my close friends say they are amazed at the load of stuff I take on and pull off. My wife says I take on too much. My wife is right because I neglect the house and home in favor of the commitments I take on. I serve as an Officer because many have asked me to. I look forward to the day I can pass the position off, as leadership has never been my goal. The welfare of my community is always the goal. My Chief EXPECTS that someday I will move up and take an Assistant Chief’s slot. Again, not my goal (remember an earlier post? I’m an ‘old guy’.). Responsibility such as that bears a heavy burden to those who are led. I am a firm believer in the concept of ‘servant leadership’. If you are not familiar with the concept, it is the belief that those of us who lead are actually servants to the needs of those who are led. That is, if we are the leader, our primary concern is to serve those who are under us. That translates, in the Fire Service, to giving your people a leader who is: Well trained, very skilled, maintains the safety of all as THE primary concern, treats everyone with respect, respects the skill and opinions of all his/her people, and does his best to let his people do their jobs and look good while doing it.
So the original question was: is this blog the right thing for me? Well, let’s see: I work about 45-50 hours a week at my paying job. I am out at meetings, training sessions (teaching), classes (learning), and meetings on an average of about 4 nights a week. I spend 1 night a week answering emails from my people. I spend about 2/3 of my weekend on Fire Department issues such as doing the newsletter and collecting the information for same, supply orders, helping with other classes (like rehab for a firefighter one class or serving as a Safety Officer), working on my own lesson plans, doing orientation for new members (I do this on a ‘one on one’ basis and it usually takes 4-5 hours), and sometimes it includes running a major drill such as a 2-4 hours extrication drill, low angle rescue. I also work on projects the Chief has handed down that need to get done. So how much time do I really have left for a blog?
Maybe I’m nuts (my best friends have been telling me this for years) but I’m going to give this a run and see how it goes. I like to write and I’m usually not too bad at it. This stuff I’ve been putting out so far has been mostly drivel, IMHO. Once I get the introductory stuff out of the way I’m hoping an issue pops up that I can get my teeth into and then we will see.
In the mean time, drivel it is.


  1. I have just found your blog via 999Medic's link.
    I hope you do keep it up as it is interetsing reading so far.

    I am a junior officer with St John Ambulance (SJA) in the UK and a lot of what you say above rings true with me about the number of hours for admin, preparing lessons and so on.

    I have booked some 650 volunteer hours this year and done around 45 paid hours in support of the professional ambulance service (paid hours are not booked as volunteer hours in our system).

    I would guess if I booked every minute I did SJA work at home it would be half as much again.

    When I do the maths that seems to work out as about 25 full time weeks doing SJA things whilst holding down a managerial job.

    Would I have time to do a blog - no, do I hope you find time - yes!

  2. Thanks for the kind word Nick. I'll give it a go and see what takes root.
    It sounds like you and I put it around the same amount of time doing what we love but I think you have me beat. You know how rough it can be at times.
    I'll try to give you something worth reading in the near future. I just have to get my sea legs back.