21 st Birthday… I wish, times that by two and you would be closer to the truth… but today is a 21st Birthday of sorts.
If I’m not turning 21 then whats up?
Today is 21 years since I joined the Fire Brigade…
What 21 years in the same job?
There are not too many “jobs” in which someone spends 21 years (or lot more) in these days. But this needs to be looked at in context, and the Fire Brigade has been far more than just a “job”.
I may have been in the Fire Brigade for 21 years, but I have had a number of “careers” already within this time.
I have spent time operationally on the fire-trucks doing the stuff you see firefighters do in the media and loved every minute of it.
I have spent time in Corporate Strategy and project management, I have spent (a short time) in training. I have done specialisations like Rescue and Hazardous Materials. I have spent time in additional roles like being a member of our Critical Incident Support team.
I have also been fortunate to have progressed in rank to where I am today, an Inspector (for those looking for an equivalency in rank terms, think Major in the Army).
I gained an education… in more ways than one.
I gained a valuable vocational education, but beyond that I have earned three post-graduate degrees and picked up plenty of “life lessons” along the way.
Twenty one years has provided many great examples of leadership (as well as a few how not to lessons on leadership).
I have been shown the true nature of “the firefighter family” when my own families circumstances have been dire .
I have learned how fragile human life is.
I have learned how strong the human body can be, despite what people and circumstances can do to it.
I have learned how indestructible the human spirit is, or can be.
I have learned that there is always someone willing to help (including when you find it hard to ask for help), and some one willing to watch your back, and how to reciprocate such loyalty and friendship.
I have learned that there is strength in unity.
I have learned the truth behind a quote that I have never been able to re-find the source for……“Bravery is a single act usually over in minutes, true courage is putting on the uniform every day knowing what it is you might be called upon to do”, and I thank my fellow firefighters and members of other emergency services for putting on the uniform and showing up every day to make our communities safer for everyone.
I have learned….. that I have never finished learning….. and that….
21 does feel like a beginning again..
Just like a real 21st birthday, today is full of hope. I potentially have a long time and a lot more to achieve in this “fire brigade” life, just like when I was turning 21.
I hope the next 21 years (if it lasts that long) is as full of fun, friendship, learning and life that the last 21 has been.