Everyone in the fire service can point to a time in their career where they developed a bad attitude. Many times, the attitude was the result of something that happened earlier that may or may not have been fair. It could be argued that the bad attitude was “deserved”.
The moment you put on your job shirt or uniform, you have NO RIGHT to be pissy about anything. In our brotherhood, there is no room for it- now or ever.
I’m not saying you should never get upset about something that you feel strongly about- that’s to be expected in our high-stress work environment.
Yet there is a time and a place to be Mr. Negative, and that place is not at work. Your bad attitude is highly contagious. It has already affected you, and will quickly spread to everyone around you. Nope, work is the time to show up with your A-game.
Every minute of every day, you owe that A-game to your crew. That’s the time to show them that –no matter what- their safety is paramount. They can count on a clear-headed partner when the shit hits the fan. Everyone Goes Home. Remember the old cliché “Your crew is only as strong as it’s weakest link?” Don’t be that weak link. Don’t ever let your buddies know that you are capable of being the weakest link.
You also owe it to yourself, my friend. Do you truly take pride in your work? Not the kind of pride in that you help people and save property- that’s all well and good, but it’s also automatic. It’s handed to you when you walk in the door.
I’m talking about the pride you have to earn: The pride in THE WAY YOU OPERATE as a person- especially when you have every right to be pissy.
Will others say that you are THE GUY they would want to be with on the line inside a job gone bad? Maybe you’re not quite as good as you want to be yet, but you have the mindset to be focusing on constant improvement. That’s great.
But if you can’t come to work without leaving your crap attitude at home, we don’t want you here, brother, Do us all a favor and call in sick and stay home with Mr. Pissy. Come back when you're not so sick.
Remember how stoked you were when you first found out you were hired? You have the best damn job on the planet, and you love it! You wouldn’t trade it for any other job, would you? So, come to work with that stoked feeling every shift. That’s the contagiousness we all need these days in the fire service.
That’s the guy we want with us on that line.
John Mitchell is a 34-year student of the fire service on volunteer and career departments as both a firefighter officer and paramedic in suburban Chicago. He has served as a training officer and college lead instructor for firefighter and EMS courses. John is the President of Diamondplate Productions which produces The Daily Fire Fix© and Firefighter Netcast©. John also responds to national disasters across the country as a member of the FEMA’s Command Staff in External Affairs.