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  • Help?!

    I have been a volunteer firefigher for almost a year now. Before that I was a explorer for a year. I can't remember why I chose to become a firefighter/EMT, but I knew that I really like the work. It was exciting, and fulfilling. Firefighters have a great work schedule and everyone that I worked with was really encouraging. Then September 11 occured and it just seemed like the right thing to pursue.

    Now I am not so sure. I struggle to make it to my pre-assigned shifts, ones that I signed up for. I question constantly my choice to become a firefighter. I have trouble asking questions and I feel stupid for not knowing the answers to problems that seem common sense.

    I have always been one to push my limits.. to see how far I can make it. Yet, more and more I keep making excuses for my behavior. For example, I am constantly reminded of individuals that hindered my success in the process of becoming a firefighter. These people would always belittle me or try to stop me from being a firefighter. I know use this as an excuse to not become a firefighter.

    The thing is..I like what I do. :P Its hard, and it pushes me were I never thought I could go. In the end its worth it, although getting there is tough.

    Nonetheless, I feel like I am at a barrier wall of bricks. I want to ask for help, but I don't know where to start. I can't seem to formulate that first question that will express my thoughts to get the ball rolling. And I don't know who to ask.

    If you have any suggestions, please help me out. I apologize for babbling. I thank you for your time and patience. Just writing this seems to help.

  • #2
    take a vacation. in ems average person reaches burnout after about 4-5 years or so. earlier in some, later in others. we all go through bouts of what you are going through. whenever i have it, i just step back and take a break. also finding someone to talk to helps, sometimes it helps if they are not in the fire/ems service. finding a hobby that is not fire/ems related is a good idea also. hope this helps you out. let us know how you are doing.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
    IACOJ Attack

    Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

    Comment


    • #3
      It does sound like stepping back might be a good idea. If firefighting really is your passion, you'll be drawn back to it soon enough.

      It's not worth doing things that you don't have to if they don't make you happy - not 100% of the time, of course, but on the whole. If you don't like what you're doing, look for something else.

      Perhaps you are experiencing burnout. Could you also be at that point where you realize how little you actually know? That can be a good thing, actually. If this is the case, you will probably be motivated to become a master of the job, or you will leave it - and I'm not suggesting that leaving the fire service is either a good decision or a bad decision. (BTW, if you ever run into someone who knows everyting there is to know about the fire service, RUN AWAY - DONT WALK. They are liars or fools. They are also very, very dangerous.)

      One thing is for sure - no one on this list can give you THE answer. You will have to do some soul searching and figure this out for yourself. You will also have to live with whatever decision you make, but you will be that much wiser for having done it.

      I hope I don't sound like I'm preaching, but I see a lot of my younger self in your post. I know firsthand how tough making that decision can be.

      Good luck.
      Last edited by ullrichk; 06-13-2003, 10:50 AM.
      ullrichk
      a.k.a.
      perfesser

      a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

      Comment


      • #4
        Did you join for YOU, or did you join because people said you couldn't, or to prove a point? I agree with what's been said so far. Take a break for a bit, and do some hard thinking. Rather than getting out all together, would transfering to a different station be enough to get you going again? Is it something with that particular FD that is pushing you away? Either way, good luck with what ever you decide.

        Comment


        • #5
          Firechick;
          You quit they win. Let the idiots who belittle you be your driving force. It may not seem like it right now but the abuse you withstand WILL make you a better person and stronger firefighter (mentally). We have a good time at our station, a little rib here, a little rib there but ridiculing one another is something I won't put up with. Especially a new member. If you don't feel comfortable with your chain of command go to your Chief, you were hired on that dept. for a reason. There are still some boys in the fire service that feel it is there duty to make it hard on new folks, male or female. As posted before these are the self absorbed mental midgets you need to stay away from. With all due respect gentlemen burnout after a year on the job to me is unlikely.
          Vintage Firefighter:
          "The older I get the braver I was!"

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          • #6
            in the fire service you can never let them know your weaknesses. We all know that once these are public information they will be exploited.

            Step back and take a deep breath and then dive into it full force. your department has to have some CISD available somewhere. It seems as if you need to just talk to someone and air out your frustrations and feelings. They are not shrinks...so do not be apprehensive... Just find someone that will listen that you can talk to and then talk... It will help..

            Then...ask yourself why you are doing it. If you do not have an answer then perhaps you are in the wrong business. If you can say I am doing it because I want to make a difference and I want to help my community, then you are on the right track.
            09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
            ------------------------------
            IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
            "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
            BMI Investigator
            ------------------------------
            The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

            Comment


            • #7
              Update

              After much thought and deliberation, I finally decided on the proper course of action for me. I resigned from the position of volunteer and I cannot tell you how happy I have become. Life is less stress full, and it is more fulfilling. While I enjoyed my stint with the fire department it was an emotionally draining and somewhat discouraging experience. Its true what others say about the fire and ems world: "Its not for everyone."
              I don't hate or dislike the fire department in anyway, and I know that what happened in my area is not what it is like everywhere. Sometimes I like to think that if I had just been somewhere else I could still be a firefighter. (Ha! If that isn't the greatest lie I have ever told myself. ) Firefighting just isn't for me.
              I would like to thank the great but few people who did stick by me while I was there. To you, I wish you the best, knowing you will go far. These people never chastised or were decietful in anyway. They made working an enjoyable experience.
              And to those who were the worst kind of people you can meet, I have nothing to say. If there is one thing that I have learned in the fire service, it is to never talk bad about anyone even to their face. That gets you no where, whereas kindness "kills."
              I cant say that my experience with fire department left me blindsighted. I learned so much, about my self, how to deal with others and the way that politics works. I can say that politics in the fire department like in hospital and ems settings is horrific. If anything discourages people its that.
              Most importantly, I just want to say THANK YOU. No matter how bad this "love-hate" relationship is with me and the fire department, I am just so grateful to have it and to know people like the ones I have come to consider my family. To those also that helped me when I was confused with advice, also I owe a huge thanks. THANK YOU!!!
              Life goes on though, and although I seem to have "wasted" a good portion of my life that could have been spent "better", I am happy. (In the great sceam of things it really isn't that long of a time.) To me just being happy is the greatest gift I could ever give myself. Im not certain of what the future brings for me now, but Im happy to be out of the fire department. I CAN FINALLY MOVE ON!!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                It's been a while since you first posted, so it doesn't look like you rushed your decision. I'm glad to hear the burden has lifted.

                Don't concern yourself about "wasted" time. All of our decisions - good and bad - make us who we are. The only real waste (IMHO) would be to tread water and make no decision.

                Best of luck in your future endeavors!
                ullrichk
                a.k.a.
                perfesser

                a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

                Comment


                • #9
                  fascinating !
                  IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
                  Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
                  ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
                  RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
                  LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
                  I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
                  "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
                  http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Huh?

                    I'm totally at a loss.... I do wish to politely decline to accept the "Burnout" theory though. There are a lot of people who have tried the Fire/Rescue/EMS thing over the years, and found themselves being uncomfortable with it. Each one seemed to have a different reason why they were leaving, and I don't remember anyone saying that the pace was too rough. We have a very high call volume, but that, in itself, was not the problem with anyone that I spoke with (we do "exit interviews") Changes at work (real job) leads the list, and included are those who get transferred out of the area. Stay Safe....
                    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                    In memory of
                    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                    IACOJ Budget Analyst

                    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

                    www.gdvfd18.com

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