When Did Striving For Excellence Become A Bad Thing

Hey man are you okay? These are the words heard on the other end of the phone as a brother firefighter calls to check on another after a very late night fire in which a mistake was made. The is response I hate making mistakes, but I have learned from it and will not make it again, but that is not the purpose of this writing. As the discussion went on the brother went on to tell that the firefighter was being ridiculed for giving a good size up and wanting to be precise. My question to you is when did striving for excellence become bad? I have noticed for quite some time that firefighters whom strive to do their best take on a lot of ridicule. Firefighters who go that extra step to be on committee’s or purchase equipment often face ridicule by firefighters who either want to collect a paycheck or lack the know how to get the same job done. It lead me to ponder was this criticism because the firefighter was bad at their job or as I heard it stated they just wanted to be that guy, or is it fear that if in their same position they would have made the same mistake, but dismiss it by belittling firefighters efforts. So how did we let this become a standard practice of taunting firefighters wanting to be the best and striving for that goal? Ambition can be a great tool if harnessed early and guided in the right direction. Unguided and misdirected ambition can be trouble also, but how did it get that way? Was the ambition there to seek excellence but was not given any attention so now it is headed down the path of selflessness and Glorification? I used this story to point out the condemnation that is going on in the fire service today of one another. Often times firefighters are cutting each throats thinking that they are elevating themselves only, the real truth is they are showing everyone that they can not be trusted. We ( The Fire Service ) have enough people trying to tear us down and apart why are we doing it to one another? I encourage all the next time you encounter a firefighter striving for excellence help them along because it is the right thing to do; Even though they may have made a mistake be honest and tell them the truth, but also highlight what has been done right and encourage the continued success in that area. So again, I asked when did striving for excellence become a bad thing?

5 Comments

  • anchorpoint1 says:

    “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.
    Dale Carnegie
    I believe the people who do the worst criticizing are the ones that do either the least amount of work or are bad at it. They only do it to keep the conversation from coming back around to their numerous shortfalls. They always know which company made some minor mistake and will gladly broadcast it to all who’ll listen.
    If you are striving for excellence then you know who’s opinion matters and who is just blowing smoke.
    Granted after you have owned up to the mistake and done whatever remediation, the ribbing should begin in earnest.

  • pfd24 says:

    Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
    Albert Einstein
    This is another good quote on how anyone can just criticize, ridicule and joke at the fact of someone on the job that wants whats best for the company. Striving for excellence should be a goal for everyone in the fire service, and to complain about someone doing just that is a disgrace to the profession we live by. So, to the ones who strive for excellence, let no one stand in your path. FTM-PTB

  • Engine Captain Missouri says:

    When someone says this to me, I thank them for the compliment and smile, at least I try to. This is my profession and I will not give it up without a fight. It does seem at times, those that understand our profession are outnumbered by those that want a paycheck, are to worried about their side job, or any number of reasons, however we must continue to push forward. People can ridicule all they want, but who will they look to when things go bad. FTM KTF RFB

  • Amen brother. It has happened to me. Early in my career I took every class I could, just to better myself. Of course I received a lot of criticism about it. It all boils down to this: Do The Right Thing. Striving for excellence is part of that.

  • AFM says:

    This is an age old problem that stretches across all aspects of our society. It has its roots in one of the 7 deadly sins, jealousy. And in alot of instances, as has been pointed out, it comes from those who lack the self-discipline to better themselves in order to better their team and their department. The individuals who strive to do their best will always be criticized by those who “just do their jobs”. The measure of a person in this instance is if they let the words roll off their backs and keep going, or succumb to the peer pressure to be “one of the guys”.

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Marques Bush

Firefighter Basics launched in February 2009 after Founder/Editor Marques Bush was looking for a way to express himself and share his experiences with brother and sister firefighters. Shortly after founding the site Marques spoke with several trusted friends and ask them to come on board and contribute also. Firefighter Basics is a dedicated group of firefighters who strive everyday to practice what they preach about Training, Safety, and Tradition.  We can be reached at firefighterbasics@gmail.com
Comments
ladderjack
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
Anthony, Thank you for your response. I hope I didn't come off as saying that "I am the only opinion that matters in this paper." I agree with you 100% that there is no "Set" way to do anything, and that we need to keep our minds open to different techniques and thinking outside of…
2014-08-27 20:34:16
Ryan McGovern/ Ladderjack
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
Ben, Thanks a lot for your comment! You're definitely right that there needs to be hoseline protection given to the guys working above the fire; and that a TIC should be utilized when attempting VES techniques. Every little thing we can do and engineer to make an already dangerous maneuver safer is a must! Thanks…
2014-08-27 20:25:20
Anthony Correia
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
While VSP was written as an EFO paper, the paper it is not end all be all on this topic. In a presentation Marsars did last year, he himself said it wasn't 100%. Even gave an example of a fire in his home local where a person lived, that would of met unlikely survivability profiling.…
2014-08-27 19:24:24
Ben Waller
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
...OK, it was 3 points, but who is counting?
2014-08-26 23:44:08
Ben Waller
“Go” Versus “No-Go” A Brief Look into Survivability Profiling
I agree, with two additional points. VIES of the tenable 2nd story windows should include the following - 1. A heavy Transitional attack in the 1st floor windows below the fire to protect the truckies' access, the ladders, and egress for truckies and (potential) victims. 2. Truckies take a thermal imaging camera and size up…
2014-08-26 23:43:33
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