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Recently I have found myself walking around the fire service taking inventory. Not for the trucks or station supplies, but for myself. Taking inventory of where I am in my career, my relationship with my peers, and my relationship with my crew. WIth that, I’m also taking inventory of my attitude and outlook. I’m just trying to figure out where I am with everything.

However, one thing never fails.

As I start to take “inventory” over the current state of my career I can’t help but look around me.

What’s everyone else doing?

That’s dangerous.


It’s dangerous because at the end of the day, they don’t matter. My relationships, outlook, and over all attitude about my career in the fire service is on me and no one else.

I cannot continue to look around and compare where I am in my career to other people. I can’t let moods and attitudes of others dictate how I handle my decision making on the fire ground and my relationships at work.

You don’t like work?

That’s nice, I still like it here and plan on retiring from here some day.

You don’t like our officer?

That’s cool. I still have to work here and will make an effort to at least work with him/her. The fire service has screwed you over to the point where now you’re bitter and they are the reason you hate the job now?


That’s still on you.

You can’t control how the fire service has treated you, but you can control your responses to what’s happened. If you’re blaming the fire service for making you bitter and disgruntled, don’t expect the fire service to fix it for you… Its on you. 

It’s all about ownership. All of it.

I honestly don’t care what’s happened (in a nice way.) You have to find a way to own your part of it without continually expecting other people in the fire service to own their part. If you are waiting for your crew or officer to own their shit before you makes some changes, you might be in for a longer wait than you are expecting.

Make the changes YOU need to make.

Stop blaming and comparing.

It’s not doing anything for you.

Well, at least it hasn’t done anything for me. Blame and comparison get you know where in this career. Come to work, do your job, do it well, be humble, and go home to your family. Sounds simple right? That’s because it is.

We make it harder than it has to be, because we have to be justified in our actions. 

P.S. When I hear “Ownership” I hear “Own your shit.”

Maybe that’s just me.

This article was written by Joshua Chase of Jump Seat Leadership – Go see his book!

Bill Dungey is a volunteer firefighter in Ontario, Canada. He is focused on fitness, mindset development and finding training opportunities to help the fire service make things better.

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