It’s been a while since I posted on here just for the sake of having an opinion, but there has been something bothering me. I read other blog posts, articles, watch live Facebook videos and hear about how there is no Brotherhood. I listen to the rants of how this ‘new’ generation just doesn’t get it. Others posting about how the fire service will never be the same…….and on and on and on.
I don’t see it that way and certainly don’t believe the downfall of the fire service that we know and love is imminent. I do believe we have the same problems that every generation of firefighter has had with new members–they’re different and do things different than we might have. That doesn’t necessarily make them wrong.
Additionally, these new members were raised to believe certain things, to hold certain values and to respond accordingly by somebody….. would you like to know who raised this generation? Take a look in the mirror!
We, those that have 20 or more years in the service are responsible for the culture that we complain so much about. We are the ones who have created the atmosphere that we like to blame on the new member walking through the door with. Seriously, how fast can they change the culture in our departments? We know culture does not change over night and certainly isn’t created in a day, a week, a month or maybe a year.
I see the issues with entitlement, lack of engagement, seemingly disinterest in the craft and treating this profession as just job from all demographics of the fire service. I see some of the most senior members stomp their feet and complain because they have to train and drill on the same tactics they’ve been doing for 30 plus years…….guess who picks up on that? Yep, the new members.
I see 15-20 year members quit and become a cancer because they have not been promoted or achieved what they expected or felt they deserved. Guess who picks up on that………the new members.
I have witnessed many veteran members undercut officers and the organization in front the new members, hoping to get buy-in early from an impressionable new employee. And………the new members want to fit in and you guessed, follows suit.
Our problems are far from exclusive to the new members. It runs the entire seniority list of your organization….don’t be blinded by the easy target.
Instead of casting blame and immediately dismissing the worth of the new members, work on what you can do to ensure they get it right. What are you actively doing to lead them in the right direction? No, it’s not always easy and it will require you to handle them differently, the same way your first officer or senior member had to handle you differently. This is nothing new, just different.
Blaming and the doom and gloom will be the downfall of our craft and profession, not new members. We will always have new members with differences, it’s up to us to teach, mentor and lead them to do the same when we’re gone.
Now, get to work.