For those that might be going to FDIC and might be planning to attend my class, (which I am getting nervous about) this is an excerpt from a book I am attempting to write on the subject matter.
If you do come to my class, just leave your rotten fruit and bricks at the door. Be mindful, this excerpt is only a portion of what is taught during the class.
Feel free to comment, but be gentle, please. : )
Hope to see you all at FDIC and travel safe.
One of the first things I came to enjoy when I first got hired as a career firefighter was the morning bullshit sessions at the kitchen table. This was a time when everyone sat around the kitchen table and fixed their morning cup of “Joe” and selected items for breakfast. This usually happen after shift change and the oncoming crew was set on their trucks. The talk usually started in the engine bay and worked itself up the stairs to the kitchen.
The discussions consisted of how families were the prior day’s events and the rumor mill or grapevine. In fact, our chief at that department eventually put up a newsletter he dubbed the “grapevine” and hung it in the kitchen since that is where all of the “information” came from anyway. Regardless, conversations were spirited at times and most of us learned who was creating their own theories and realities and those who were steady and level headed. As a young, new firefighter at this department, it wasn’t always easy to distinguish who to listen to and follow.
This is an important issue. Whether we realize it or not, what we say around new firefighters will influence them for the rest of their careers. We will discuss this a little later, but we need to remember this and pay attention to what we are saying and what others are saying. We all have an opportunity to quell rumors and inaccurate statements or those things that are not conducive to a positive attitude. We don’t need rank or title to be leaders in the fire service.
The kitchen table has made leaders and ruined others. It has started rumors that were damaging and it has redeemed men from mistakes made. Some have solved problems around this eating surface and problems have been created at the same setting. Sometimes the cup we drink from and offer is sweet and others offer poison. We, as men and women of honor and integrity must know and learn the difference and do our best to stop the spread of damaging comments and attitudes.
This table is diverse and it does not discriminate. We basically bring our problems and lay them out there for others to listen to and give validation to. Most that I have seen don’t like being told they are wrong or that they were the problem and not the other person or circumstance. With that being said, most of what we perceive is what we base our judgments on. These judgments are accurate or not, based on the information we have or what we perceived to have. In some instances, we simply hear what we want to hear. We have all done the experiment in some leadership or management class where the first person in the front row is told a phrase and by the time it gets to the rear of the room, it is altered. Not purposefully, but simply because each person hears things or wants to hear things differently, which changes their perception or creates it.