“Hey, Ya Got a Minute?”  Those words still make me squirm. I worked with someone who asked me that several times every shift. There really was no reason for those discussions.  It was usually some stupid question because that guy was bored.  When we work together as much as we do in the fire service, it’s important to get along with the people you work with.  Some people are just tough to work with.

“No one ever showed me how to do that”. That statement would not be so bad if it was from someone that was fairly new. Unfortunately, it was from a firefighter who had been around over 15 years.  Any time she messed something up, it was someone else’s fault for not showing her how to do it.  Even if we just went over it at training, it was the same answer.

Just like any other group of people, there are always a couple selfish ones in the crowd.  Not just quiet guys, but the ones that only care about themselves.  Selfishness is particularly obvious when we try and work out a trade of shift days when we have some other obligation.  For example, I need next Sunday off for a family party.  I ask one guy if I can work his Monday and he work my Sunday. The majority of people would say I need to check my schedule.  There are some guys that just never trade, so we never ask them.  Other guys will say no I don’t need Monday off, and then some will say I can work Sunday if you work Christmas for me.  Luckily I worked with a lot of people that helped each other out, but there are always some jerks.

Some people can never take credit for their own opinions. During administrative meetings, a common statement from this guy was “He and I were talking and we think we should do it like this”.  There are two reason I don’t like that.  Obviously the person making the statement isn’t sure of his opinion and the worst part of this is that other person that got mentioned, might not share that exact opinion.  If you have an opinion, voice it.  It is the other person’s right to express their opinion if they choose.

Some people just can’t have a conversation in an office without closing the door. There are certain instances where information needs to be kept confidential, but for normal business discussions, office doors can be left open.  I’m not sure why some people need to keep everything a secret.

For every bad person I have worked with there are dozens of exceptionally good people I have worked with.  Some are generous to a fault and some will do anything for you.  A great example of this is older firefighters with grown children holding over on Christmas morning so younger firefighters can be home with their kids longer on Christmas morning.  Car trouble, something broken at your house, or need a ride somewhere, the same guys always volunteer to help.  You have never really lived until you do something for someone who can never repay you.

By John Morse

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