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I wanted to thank everyone for the excellent feedback on my last blog on weak fire chief's. I had hundreds of great replies and greatly appreciated all of them. I was asked by many of you to expand on this topic to the fire service in general and the first topic that came to mind was Ego's!

We all have them, at times it might help us build our low self - esteem, give us a boost when we need it most. But as we all know, there is a flip side to this coin. How often in today's world, especially in the fire service, do we use the saying "they have a huge inflated ego"? We also commonly hear the saying "they think they are in charge instead of the chief" What happened to the days when we did the job, worked as a team, watched the others backs and called each other "Brother"? Ego is defined as "a persons sense of self importance or self - esteem" A persons self - importance, wow now there is a term that fits today's fire service. As an Officer/Instructor, I have been for years now, trying to figure out just what happened to the attitudes in our profession. You all know what I am talking about, the "its not my job" attitude, the "I'm senior to him or her so make them do it, I'm watching the game" attitude, the "I don't care what the rules are, that not my problem" attitude and one, just one of the best heard today "screw you chief, you try and discipline me one more time, even though it was all my fault and I'm going over your head to my local politician and have you fired" attitude. Ladies and Gentlemen, what the H E L L happened? What happened to those days when you were in training or recruit school and the Instructors were feared and respected? What happened to when an officer gave an order, it was not questioned but followed to the T? What ever happened to "yes chief, right away" to "I don't care, take it up with the Union President"? Better yet, what happened to when firefighters wanted to do the job and had pride in their work and departments?

Can it be defined as either an attitude problem or an ego problem? Both? What if any, is the solution? As I stated in my last blog, factions and cliques have all but destroyed not only the morale but the integrity of the fire service. Most often you no longer see all members, 100% of the department, willing to work together, willing to chat with everyone on the team or even putting their best effort forward. This groups ego is bigger than that groups, so we will not associate with them even when we need to work together. Take a close look at some of today's recruit schools, there is almost always a hand full of students who walk in the first day with the "I have seen it and done it all" ego, where their helmets appear to have been through years of heavy firefighting, yet when you find out the real truth, the helmet has spent time in someone's oven.

Is it a generational problem? Has our youth lost the respect, the willingness to learn, obey and follow their leaders or has our fire service traditions just gotten to old, too outdated? Can it be that all us "old timers" are just too traditional and we need to learn the new ways of the world? Should it be that although we have leaders/officers, everyone should all be on the same level so no one feels left out, so no one feels hurt when they are given an order or told to do something, I say that is Crap! The fire service is full of traditions and the most important one of all is we watch each others backs and no one firefighter is better than anyone else. If your smart enough to pass the promotional exam and get "made" great, more power to you. But if your running around with an ego and the attitude that you "just deserve" to be promoted because you see yourself as some firefighting bad a**, find other work! Don't destroy the job I love because you think your better than everyone else. Pull that stick that you shoved up your butt and come down to earth with everyone else. Those who worked hard to get where they are, those who want to do the job and make it through trying to be their best are the ones you should be looking at. Come to the realization your not Superman or Super Jake for that matter. There will always be, no matter what, someone much smarter and stronger than you. Unless you become President of the United States, no matter what you think or feel, your not the most important person alive. Ego's will kill morale, ego's promote factions and cliques, ego's get people hurt and killed and ego's are a false sense of security. It doesn't matter in the slightest if your a career or volunteer firefighter, the risk is still the same. We all love to boast about the "Brotherhood" and yet we are also the first ones to "bad mouth" one another because our ego's tell us we are so much better trained, better equipped, go to more calls or have a leather helmet instead of a plastic one. When you stop and think about it, ego's are really nothing more than self destroying attitudes just waiting for its next victims.

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