Some people say that the toughest change or transition for them is from firefighter to officer; it would be the same in any profession or industry, when you move from worker to supervisor. Just as in the private sector the move and transition is task, role and responsibility specific. In some cases it is even physical…
In most professions, a promotion is seen as a reward. In our industry it is more function specific.
You may go from driver to the other front seat with no controls; driving in a vehicle all alone or be driven by an aide. I have ridden in all of them. Each has its place and each has its own unique perspective.
In my profession people say that the toughest change or transition for them is from firefighter to officer
They may be right if:
- You weren't serious about the job or your responsibilities, to begin with.
- You didn't make the investment in yourself to study and become proficient
- You don't like people (the ones you serve or the ones you serve with)
- You are one of the guys/gals and can't distinguish between leader / follower
- You lack the courage to change yourself and circumstances when needed.
I don't want you to think that I am bashing anyone or being cruel. I'm not. Some Officers are honest and tell me that they went for the higher rank, solely, for the higher pay. (To me, that's wrong… although not criminal...and now I'm off the soap box)
There are other reasons for this. I have had the pleasure to work with and speak to hundreds of fire officers in the last thirty years. Each of them brings something unique to the office and many bring the same thing. I am finding more and more that they are tool and task focused, as opposed to the overall operation or mission.
When you make the change, there must also be a transition.
You must understand your role and responsibility.
So, if you are a person aspiring to be an officer or manager:
· Learn your job well, first
· Study and train for the position you seek
· Network with incumbents who have been there, done that and have been successful
· Select and establish rapport with a mentor or role-model
· Focus your efforts with a positive attitude
If you are already that person and not sure:
· Perform a self-audit: “Ask yourself, am I doing all that I can?”
· Study and train to maintain your optimal level of proficiency and knowledge