Want Probies to Learn? Just Yell at Them
In the process, I’ve noticed that some people take this very real aspect of the fire service better than others. Some take it as motivation to get their head back in the game and to do better next time; others, unfortunately take it personally.
If you’re a greenhorn, take some advice from a guy who’s seen both camps: don’t be in the second group. We have an opportunity for stronger and more rewarding relationships from our profession than most people will ever have in their jobs. It’s just not possible to form the same kind of bonds pushing paper that you do when you struggle with others through life-threatening situations. On the other hand, great potential for good usually is balanced by great potential for evil. If you‚re given to the second, poison personality type, if you want to pose and posture, if you prefer to think too highly of yourself, if you love to hold grudges, you‚ll have an unparalleled chance to do that as well. We’ve all got a certain amount of latent pride dormant inside us. It’s a tragedy when we let that get in the way, use that pride, don‚t let that pride use you. Ultimately, just don’t be that guy.
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A far better approach is to just realize from the beginning that you’re going to get some tough love, and to recognize it for exactly what it is- love. We probies and our veteran mentors have the same goals in mind: first to protect the lives and safety of everyone involved, and second to grow all of us into the best firefighters we can be for the good of the communities we protect. We just have to come to terms with it when we make mistakes, and resolve to do it right next time. After all my fellow firefighters, that’s what firefighting is, learning- we just happen to have the world‚s hottest classroom.