3 Reasons You Should Wait to Promote in the Fire Service

The fire service promotion process is not an easy one. Deciding when to go for firefighter promotion is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You want to promote at a time in your life when you have the time to fully commit to the entire process.

  1. Personal Issues

When you decide to promote in the fire service you need to be able to be in the right mindset. You need to be focused and motivated to study, ace your written exam, pass all of the other assessments and have a successful oral interview. If you are having personal issues at home such as a divorce, death in the family or so on, you may want to consider waiting to sign up to promote in the fire service. If personal issues in your life have caused you to become depressed, it can affect your memory and make studying even more difficult. This is because depression can affect your “attention and memory” in a negative way. People struggling with depression have trouble focusing and their overall cognitive health will decline. If you are struggling with family issues or even just everyday depression you may want to consider seeking treatment before you sign up to take your firefighter promotional exam, so you can do the best you possibly can. 

  1. Lack of “Extra” Experience

There are many qualifications in place that must be met in order to even sign up to promote in the fire service. Even if you meet every qualification that is established by the department you are applying for you may want to wait to promote. Just because you meet the baseline requirement to promote doesn’t mean you are qualified. Your superior officers that are in charge of the promotion process are going to be looking for more than just the bare minimum. They want to see leadership skills, community involvement, department involvement, communication skills, organizational skills and so on. You need to be able to show, in a concrete way, those doing the hiring that you have more skills and experience than the baseline they want to be promoted, because I assure you the other firefighters you are competing with do. These skills may not be something you have just yet if you just meet the minimum requirements for promotion, but they are things you can gain in the future. 

  1. Immaturity

Before deciding to promote in the fire service you need to ask yourself, are you mature. This may seem like a silly question but as an officer in the fire service you are representing your department, and if you can’t do that in a mature fashion you won’t get promoted. Some things that may come off as immature may be dressing unprofessionally or inappropriately, making inappropriate jokes, not taking things seriously, inability to take constructive criticism, or being late. You need to prove yourself as a true leader, who can act professionally as a representative of the fire department. Remember, even if you are applying to a new department, officers talk, and word will get out if you act immaturely and you will be much less likely to be promoted. 

The Takeaway

Promoting in the fire service is so much more than just passing a test. You have to prove you are competent enough, focused enough, and dedicated enough to get the job. Before you sign up for promotion take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are ready for it.