How many out there have been at a place in their fire service career, where you just want to leave your gear laying there and walk out the door? You could care less if you trained, check off the rig, or if the tones even went off? Just plain and simple lost your drive, your “fire”! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about the job itself, I’m talking about your give a damn is busted.
I have been there myself. I still love firefighting, but at times all the other B.S. gets to thick, causing me to want to just walk away. Of course my passion for it would let do that no matter how much smack I talk. Everyone has those things that just piss them off or sick of hearing about, whether it’s the politics at the chief level, officer riding you about this or that, lack of structure, or the infamous “firefighter bitch and moan” club, and for some it’s just life in general, too many things on your plate all at once.
Life’s problems can get you down quick. A new baby at home and all the worries that come with it, money trouble, marital problems, sick family members, death of a loved one, there are so many things that can get your mind occupied a cause you to be off your game, you know lose that “fire”.
So how do you get it back? How do you get back that drive, motivation, that burning in your soul you that you had when you first started your firefighting career? To be 100% honest, I don’t have a clue! I know it’s probably not the answer you thought I was going to give, but stay with me, I have a point.
Everyone is different in the way they work through stuff. First, get it set in your mind that you are going to get that “fire” back one way or another. Once that is done the rest should come easy. Second, think back to the point where you noticed a change in your mindset. What was it that brought you to the point your give a damn’s busted so to speak? It could have been something that the chief said that rubbed you the wrong way, a disagreement with and officer over a training or particular incident, or with other members of the department over one thing or another. Think back to that time and then, fix it. Try talking with the chief about what he did, or the officer, or department members you argued with and try to find common ground on the situation. Try having a shift or station meeting to throw all the cards on the table. You never know, you might not be the only that has lost their motivation.
If it’s life problem that has got you down and too much on your plate, well those are a little more difficult sometimes. Like I stated before everyone deals with things their own way in their own time, for some, it’s prayer, talking to a spouse or friend, or talking with the brothers and sisters at the firehouse. I am blessed in the fact my wife is a firefighter as well. If something has got me a little torqued, I can talk to her about it and she understands where I’m coming from. Sometimes just talking about it with someone is all it takes. Other times a vacation is what you need. A few days away from work, no phone, no pager, no computer, just get out of town, a change of scenery to clear your mind, and reevaluate things. Sometimes the only logical thing to do is realize its life, and there’s nothing you can do about it but sit back and enjoy the ride. Whatever the case maybe get it out in the open and deal with, or it will eat away at you.
As I said in the beginning, I have been there and I know that others have too. Getting your desire, motivation, and your “fire” back for the job is like starting all over again. It may even motivate others to get a second wind so to speak and step their game up to train better, exercise more, or just be a better firefighter in general. Let’s all strive to keep the fire burning.