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As another promotional process creeps up on the horizon I am reminded of something. On the last day of a recruit class I recently taught I had a recruit ask me: How can I prepare to become an officer in this dept.? My first thought was, how about finish probation first!! I didn’t say that to him, but it really made me think about something.

 

Every couple years we have a promotional process in our department. You are all aware of them. That time of year when productivity seems to increase around the stations, and the people who have done absolutely nothing with themselves suddenly become go getters. They start going to classes, training all of the sudden and trying to give advice. It’s like they become a different person. Is this someone you want to work for? Is this someone you want to follow?

 

Have you seen these firefighters become overnight sensations once they find their name on that list? I sure have. It all comes down to one word. CREDIBILITY! Going back to the recruit that asked me that question, my response was very simple: You can prepare as soon as you walk out of this door and head to your station. Do you want to be a credible officer when the time comes? Are you a credible officer or firefighter right now? Don’t be one of those firefighters out there who becomes an overnight sensation. If you choose to do nothing with your career as a firefighter, your efforts will be hollow once you make that list. The way you represent your department on and off duty will shine through.  People will see the negativity, complacency and flat out laziness cast a large shadow over the newly found love for our profession? People see it, and they don’t want to follow a person like that.

 

I am far from perfect, but I have tried since day one to make myself a better firefighter and a company officer. All of us should strive every day for excellence. Credibility goes a long way. Don’t wait for a handout from your organization. Go out there and get classes, seek more knowledge, and maintain professionalism in all that you do. Conduct daily training in your firehouses. You don’t have to crawl around in turnout gear everyday but we should be doing something. Go above and beyond the minimum standards. Set your expectations high for yourself and don’t let anyone stand in your way. What will you do with your career? What will you do make yourself a credible firefighter or company officer? Make your time here count and let no one question your credibility.

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