Friday, November 6, 2009

The Psychology of Firefighting


What motivates firefighters to choose their career, and what keeps them happy in their jobs?

Ken, a retired chief and volunteer firefighter from Pennsylvania, is writing a psychology paper on firefighters' intrinsic motivation, and wants to bring the following questions to The Kitchen Table:
1. Do you enjoy your current occupation? If yes, why?

2. What makes you satisfied with your job performance?

3. Why did you choose this career?

4. If you are not happy in your current position, why?

You can help Ken out by leaving your answers in the comments, or by emailing them to me at Christine.Laquer@firerescue1.com. Answers will be used anonymously.

Thanks for your help!
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5 comments:

  1. 1. Do you enjoy your current occupation? If yes, why? Yes; I enjoy making a difference in my community and it always seems to have a new challenge.

    2. What makes you satisfied with your job performance? When people call 9-1-1, they are essentially saying that their situation is beyond their control and ability; we come in, look at the situation, and apply a solution that is literally thrown together with what we can find or what we brought on the truck. There are individuals who MIGHT pull something like that off once in their lives; we do it several times every day.

    3. Why did you choose this career? "It's our family business". There's no other job I'd rather do other than teaching people how to do this job.

    4. If you are not happy in your current position, why? I'm happy in my position (Battalion Chief) but I spent over 24 years of my 29 year career on a truck company or in special ops. Being at "the tip of the spear" is where I loved to be.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 1. Do you enjoy your current occupation? Yes, it's challenging, it's fulfilling, I get to meet lots of new people, I get to work with some terrific people, I get to be a coach and teacher, and I get to learn new things almost every day.

    2. What makes you satisfied with your job performance? I'm a training chief, and we just completed a new training center. The satisfaction of completing that project is unbelievable. Conducting the actual training and hearing positive comments from the firefighters is nice, too. I also get to work special ops, be a paramedic, conduct promotional assessments, and develop training courses, which keeps things interesting and diverse.

    3. Why did you choose this career? It's all I wanted to do since a field trip to a fire station in the 3rd grade.

    4. If you are not happy in your current position, why? There are some frustrations, primarily added workload without the ability to add staff to help manage it. The economy has a lot to do with that, but it's out of my control so I've learned to live with it. It does force creativity and soliciting teamwork from other employees. Fortunately, we have a lot of subject-matter expertise in our department, which helps.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 1. Do you enjoy your current occupation? If yes, why?

    I am a volunteer firefighter and enjoy it very much. I like the opportunity to help others and the challenge of facing the challenge of somethign larger than myself. In my regular life I am a psychotherapist.

    2. What makes you satisfied with your job performance?

    The more trainign and practice I get the happier I am because I can do the work with skill and quality.

    3. Why did you choose this career?

    I come from a family of public servants. My grandfather was a fire chief and my Dad a Deputy Sheriff.

    4. If you are not happy in your current position, why?

    If I were younger I would give up working as a psychotehrapsit and do this full tiem in wildland fire. Prefer the out doors life.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 1. Do you enjoy your current occupation? If yes, why? Yes, I enjoy helping the fine citizens of the City of Altoona. People call us on the worst days of their lives and we are sworn to assist them in solving their problems. Whether that be fighting a fire, helping an older person who is having a hard time breathing or saving a cat from a hole in the floor of someones home. We have to improvise on a daily basis, this job requires you to be a quick thinker and to act on your feet to solve immediate and dangerous problems. It is that challenge that makes this job so interesting and enjoyable.

    2. What makes you satisfied with your job performance? Knowing that success in completing the job we were called to do and helping make a person's bad day a little bit better is what makes me satisfied with my job performance.

    3. Why did you choose this career? Sometimes I think this career chose me. I started hanging around the fire station before I could even walk. My family had been involved in the fire service for three generations before me, all as volunteers. I chose, and was lucky enough, to become a paid firefighter and make a career out of something I knew for as long as I can remember.

    4. If you are not happy in your current position, why? I am very happy in my current position. I enjoy coming to work each day and doing my job to the best of my ability. Few people are able to say that. Of course there are issues that cause this job to be less than perfect, but I do not know any job that doesn't have a few drawbacks.

    ReplyDelete
  5. 1. Do you enjoy your current occupation? If yes, why? Yes, I enjoy helping the fine citizens of the City of Altoona. People call us on the worst days of their lives and we are sworn to assist them in solving their problems. Whether that be fighting a fire, helping an older person who is having a hard time breathing or saving a cat from a hole in the floor of someones home. We have to improvise on a daily basis, this job requires you to be a quick thinker and to act on your feet to solve immediate and dangerous problems. It is that challenge that makes this job so interesting and enjoyable.

    2. What makes you satisfied with your job performance? Knowing that success in completing the job we were called to do and helping make a person's bad day a little bit better is what makes me satisfied with my job performance.

    3. Why did you choose this career? Sometimes I think this career chose me. I started hanging around the fire station before I could even walk. My family had been involved in the fire service for three generations before me, all as volunteers. I chose, and was lucky enough, to become a paid firefighter and make a career out of something I knew for as long as I can remember.

    4. If you are not happy in your current position, why? I am very happy in my current position. I enjoy coming to work each day and doing my job to the best of my ability. Few people are able to say that. Of course there are issues that cause this job to be less than perfect, but I do not know any job that doesn't have a few drawbacks.

    ReplyDelete

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