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When I got out of Probie school 2 and a half years ago and started my probation "breaking In" period, there was really no interest by any of the senior men to sit myself and the other three guys down and tell us about the history of our job, the Local, the line of duty deaths we have had, what is and isn't expected of us during that period. "Shut up and Do the House Chores"!They were more or less discouraging us from taking pride in our new career, lifestyle, calling etc.. I took it upon myself to learn as much as I could (sometimes puling teeth) to get the answers. Funny thing is...Now I know more than some of the salts about our own specific history. I would like to get something going with future hires and give them the opportunity to be as proud as I am. Trouble is, I am still a junior man in the department. There's not much validity in "The Junior Guy"!

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The (not-so) funny thing about the "junior guy" is when he is still called that after a number of years on the job! Blaze your own trail on this subject and become the go-to guy. Sometimes the best mentors are the ones who reinforce what NOT to do.

A number of years ago I had a member on my shift when I was the BC who though the junior guys should do a number of the less than desirable things we did unrelated to emergency ops. When hew was questioned to his opinion he had all kinds of BS to spew. After a while I told him that he could become my junior guy which he replied to with how he was in the middle of senority. I told him nothing prevented the chief from rearrangin the shifts so he could be junior and that all the members junior to him would be on the other two shifts. He exclaimed how unfair that would be to which I replied I see your point now do you see mine? He came around defiantly but quiet. We are a team. When I was BC I cleaned all the toilets and told my guys that I used the house the same as everyone else. There were plenty of other chores I did not perform but felt some contribution was in order. Noone ever offered to do my toilets (I had 8 other guys in my house) and that was OK with me.
I know how you feel and I can assure you that no member of my crew get treated that way (not that it helps you in New York). Before I promoted, I did just as you had to do and ask questions to detail our past. We have a department historian who collected some pictures over time and donated many of them to our university. The one thing that really pushed our history to the forefront was our historian created a bond with our town's museum. They created a permanent exhibit that detailed our department through the years. The biggest change occurred when we reinstated training academies for new hires. We felt that you can never learn this profession if you don't know where you came from. we threw a history class into the mix of the academy to foster pride and ownership. I placed our history on the local website (which I hyperlinked to this post as an example for you) so people can always find it. Please don't get discouraged and keep plugging away. Brent's reply is absolutely right, you have to be the change. You have to be that guy that folks go to. You won't be "the junior guy" forever! it's just not possible.

I know exactly how you feel. In about 1995, I asked my Captain (a real senior guy) what year our department started. He didn't know, or anyone else for that matter, but he pointed me to some 4 x 6 note cards in a locker that had been written in the 60's for a speech of some kind. From that, the ball just rolled...big time. All these years later (and lots of personal time) I am the historian for the department, and the guys are telling me if I don't write a book about our history, they would be quite upset (to put it mildly here).
I still have yet to teach a formal class to the shifts, and catching the "newbies" is also on the to-do list. I have just let it slide for a few years, and need to get off my backside and get it done. I am absolutely convinced that all members (no matter their seniority) need to learn the lessons of our specific past, and in turn, they will see the department and our mission a bit differently.


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