I was reading an article today about the single biggest problem with America's workforce. Engagement. The author of that story feels that engagement with your job is the worst problem with our workforce. I tend to agree with him.
It is the same for the fire service. The bottom line is engagement. In short, are you innovative and willing to work toward bettering the fire service? are you simply going through the motions? Or are you actively seeking ways to undermine things?
In my humble opinion, we should all be engaged. We all chose this job, this profession. I would hope no one said, gee, I need a job, think I will go be a firefighter! We have to have a love of the job, a dedication to something bigger than ourselves. We need to strive every day to do the right thing, even if it isn't easy or fun. We need to learn and teach to help our companies and departments become better than they were.
We should avoid just going through the motions and "phoning it in" in the station, and on the training ground and fireground. The "what do I have to do to keep my job today" mentality has no place in our fire service!
Then there are the guys who are always trying to undermine things. The guys who are bad mouthing their officers because they may be younger than them, or being disruptive and not participating in training. Or actually trying to do harm to the organization in some way. There should be no room or tolerance for folks who do this in our fire service! It is one thing to disagree about strategy and tactics, or what color was voted on to paint the bathroom at the VFD, but quite another to go out of your way to make things more difficult.
What does it mean to be engaged? It may depend our your role in the department, but we can all, from the newest recruit to the crustiest old Chief, get engaged with our part of the fire service.