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Knowing when to step away...

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  • Knowing when to step away...

    I?m a member and chief of a small rural volunteer dept. I became the chief of the department two years ago and I?m beginning to wonder if it?s time to step away at election time. I?m 31 years old not married and no kids which people seem to think this is an excellent reason for me to be chief along with being an assistant for a few years. I?ve been in the dept for 16yrs and don?t have the same drive or passion I used to. I?m not looking to quit the dept but just change my status and become a little less active for awhile. My biggest concern is who would fill my spot. My assistant chiefs aren?t Interested and only a few other officers qualify. I also don?t want to continue doing something I don?t enjoy after this year. I ask myself.. what would they do if I decided to move away? I think I?m just looking to hear some
    thoughts. Thank you!

  • #2
    Sounds like a case of burnout building up.

    If you can tough it out one more year, make it known it's your last.

    If you haven't already, start farming out your tasks. You may have to do some coaching, but make it happen.

    I don't think I've ever run for a white hat position - it's more like I get drafted. I don't mind, but I'm getting to the point where I, too, want to step back. One area I need to get folks involved in is doing the fire reports. I may be ultimately responsible, but it should be falling on someone else now to actually do them. I'm pretty tech savvy, but not everyone is, and some are cowed by the computer. It's a challenge.

    Don't let yourself get to the point that you hate the job - there's no fun in that and it will taint the rest of your years with the fire service.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.


    • #3
      Well as in most jobs I have had, I am told it was there before you came and will be there after.

      Just hope you made the place better, and it does not go down hill.

      Maybe step down, when the term ends, either take another role or take some time off, and than after six months or so assess your thoughts, and go from there.

      You have served, thank you for that.


      • #4
        Sounds like burnout to me too. I was Chief for 14 years and an Officer before that. Sometimes you have to force people to step up by stepping away. I had a lot of comments from the people who "HAD" to step up after I stepped down that they did not realize how much I did.

        I will tell you that when you step down from Chief, you are not the boss anymore and you need to realize it. The new boundaries need to be set and understood.

        You will also feel a HUGE weight come off your shoulders when everyone's problem is not yours anymore.


        • #5
          What would it take for you to ENJOY your job?? First off, I think electing a Chief is a terrible way to run a dept. It should be based solely on qualifications. Secondly, maybe you could engage in a program to make your dept. better. What are you lacking in equipment, training and manpower? Make it a challenge. Along with possible burnout, maybe you're a bit bored too. Create something that will be a source of pride for you, your firefighters, and the community. And you don't have to do it alone.


          • #6
            18firefighter16...Been there, felt that with my former volley FD. You know your situation and if it is no longer fun, or meaningful to you without excessive stress then you already know what you want to do. The department will survive without you being chief. It may be rocky as a new person steps up but that is simply how things go.

            Take care of yourself.
            Crazy, but that's how it goes
            Millions of people living as foes
            Maybe it's not too late
            To learn how to love, and forget how to hate


            • #7
              One thing I will add to everything that is being told: as a chief officer, one of your jobs is to train your successor. If your assistant chief's don't want the 5 bugles one day, should they really be assistant chiefs? start delegating your tasks to your subordinates, so they can be prepared to take over when you do trade in your white helmet for a black one.

              I know you are all volunteers, but they chose to be officers, and with the red or white helmet comes additional responsibilities, which are all set by you, the chief. It's tough doing everything by yourself; which is why having a succession plan is so important.
              If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!



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