I have started to grow increasingly confused and frustrated. This frustration ripples throughout our fire service. It is something I hear from firefighters who work in all parts of the country. It seems lately that more attention is being shifted to those who are putting themselves out there and bleeding with passion for their careers. Why are you having conversations with some of your members about training too much or how they need to slow down? Are you having the more important conversations with your officers that are doing nothing at all? You know the ones who just show up, exist, piss you off on the fireground. The ones who don't train their crews and continue to shirk responsibility. The same ones who become good firefighters or officers because they are "nice guys" and socially acceptable, yet know nothing about their jobs. You know them well, you walk by them all the time and say nothing.
Why is it easier to silence and stifle the passionate while empowering the do-nothing's that continually fail to contribute? Are you helping them be a constant drain on the department by not saying anything to them? Of course they will continue on that path. Is it just too much work for you to say anything? Because it seems so simple to go after the complete opposite.
Why is it that I see hungry and driven firefighters who are bleeding with passion continually shoved in a corner? Demotivated guys and girls who now sit idle because they were pinned down under their so-called leaders boots. Making too much noise? Rocking your boat? Why has it grown easier to counsel firefighters that are simply trying to spread a message of intolerance to mediocrity and thirst for excellence? How are you comfortable with not saying anything to the ones who will be the real problem when the bell hits?
I wish I could find the answers to all of these. Maybe I could stop beating my head against the wall in frustration. Until then remember this: We the passionate will be the ones who move this place forward. We the passionate will be the successful on the fireground. It is we the passionate who will continue to push hard even in the midst of others apathy. Spill your breath onto the ones who need it, or you will see your frontrunners dip to the back of the pack while their motivation dissipates.
Your Passionate Subordinates