Paycheck Collectors

3 mins read

“So, why did you join the fire service?”

“Who me? Yea, I really don’t wanna be here I just couldn’t find a job… wanted to try it out… it pays good… has a pretty good schedule… etc.” 

The paycheck collectors joined for any other reason than for the right reasons.

You see, to those that take this job seriously, we took an oath to be here.  

In fact, I recited said oath with my hand raised when I got hired. This was the second time in my life I recited an oath with my hand raised to protect and serve others. I’m former Army… sorry… Just like the military, I didn’t fully understand what swearing in would entail, but I knew I wanted to serve others.

So, there I stood. 

So I, like you, swore an oath and give a shit about the families and community we swore to protect. Simply put, because that’s who we are. We are not here for recognition, accolades, and medals. We are here solely because we want to be here. We are here because we actually feel like we could make a difference by being a firefighter or an EMT. 

When I swore the oath, I didn’t understand it’s weight, but over the years it has certainly become heavy.

The magnitude of what we are called to do as firefighters and paramedics stretches way beyond the the minute or two takes to repeat after an appointed official. Though they gave me a badge, I don’t need it to remind me what I have been called to do. It’s ingrained in the deepest part of who I am.

The willingness to serve and put my life on the line for others.

I’m not looking for praise, I simply believe that there are people cut out for this line of work, and people that aren’t. 

I struggle with the paycheck collectors. I struggle with wondering if they are questioning why they are here. If they don’t want to be here; will they really have my back if I get in a bad spot?

Is it about serving and putting your life on the line for your brothers, sisters, and community?

Or is it about a good schedule, decent pay, and decent benefits? 

I also believe that there are people that can develop a love for service and the drive to be great firefighters. They may have never felt called to serve, but while actually serving in the fire service, have really, finally developed a deep pride in serving the community. 

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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