Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Politics, tradition and common sense

I am not very good at politics.  I don't play the game well and find it to be a foolish waste of time.  There are traditions in various institutions that I LOVE, others that drive me crazy.  Just because it has always been does not mean it should always be.  Examples in the fire department- EVERY house in the department makes homemade pizza every Saturday night - I think that is cool.  The hazing period for cubs - I think is silly.  Knowing about those who came before you - imperative.  Water balanced over the doors, in the cabinets - sophomoric.  Shields with Company on it - awesome, you are a team.  Cubs not being allowed to have their name on their shields because they are not a person yet - idiotic.  These are all reasons that I would make a LOUSY firefighter.  (Not that educational politics aren't just as bad, mind you.)  Some things to me are just common sense.  The Cubs not being allowed any social contact makes no sense - don't you want your crew to bond.  How many times can the floors be mopped, the counters wiped, bathrooms cleaned in one day? There are literally 14 TVs in the house and he cannot look at a single one.  Being required to make popcorn or cookies every night  - cool, not being allowed to eat them or take part in the comradery - foolish.

Now, I get the idea - Cubs need to know their place.  Earn their stripes.  (Insert any rite of passage cliché - here.)  Last week J came home with a bit of a strange story.  His lieutenant told him there was an opening at a busier house and he needed to apply for consideration.  Engine 2 is downtown - gets calls for college kids at Marquette, the jail, the mission - almost all med calls, not many fires.  The house his LT suggested he transfer to, is significantly busier. Now, there maybe other reasons behind this suggestion - J bumped a guy off the rig and it is believed that not everyone is happy that the crew was disrupted with this cub. So, J is handed the paperwork and walked through the process  - step by step, with supervision.  He submits it to the deputy chief's box for consideration. Guys on the green shift somehow found out.  (I am finding that there are NO secrets in a fire department.  And J thought working with all female elementary teachers was bad!)  And they are PISSED!!  "Who is J to think a cub can request a transfer?", "Oh, he's too good for us, huh?", "Since when do cubs get to transfer?",  "WTF! We're not good enough!!"  And now J has to do damage control.

As soon as J came on shift, one of the cubs on the Green shift pulled him aside and gave him the heads up.  J is a bit confused - he was told to do this.  If he said no - I don't want to go to a significantly busier house - it makes him look lazy and unmotivated.  If he is excited to go to another house, it makes seem as though he has an inflated sense of self-importance.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.  He starts talking to his captain, the other officers, the guys on his shift, his instructors at the BIT (especially since one of them saw himself in J - so much so, that he put J on the same rig, in the same house, on the same shift - that he started on in the department), the brass -all to let them know he is NOT unhappy or looking to leave, but that he was essentially ordered to do so.  Finally one of the officers on J's regular shift came into the conversation and told the rest of the guys - "No, we told him to do it." and things calmed down - a bit.

J's concerns are this - E2 has all of the Brass of the department, just upstairs - they will hear all of this.  Will this come back to bite him in the arse?  Will everyone start look at him as troublemaker?  For such a quiet, mild mannered guy - my hubby is not enjoying his 15 minutes in the spotlight.

Politics, egos - all my pet peeves, but all things J can deal with.  There is so much more to the fire science that goes into being a firefighter.  Definitely one more reason why not everyone is cut out for this world.
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