How To Know When it is Time to Stop Promoting in the Fire Service

Starting out as a new firefighter you may have big goals when it comes to firefighter promotion. You may want to become the fire chief, the highest ranking officer in the fire service, but sometimes life happens and plans change and so do career goals. 

  1. Feeling Overwhelmed on the Job

One major indication you may have reached your career goal is you are overwhelmed on the job. If you are having trouble keeping up with the current workload and you feel like your job in the fire service is just completely draining you it may be time to reconsider becoming fire chief. When I say this, I am not talking about when you first start in a new position because feeling overwhelmed in your first few months as a new rank is normal. If you are still feeling overwhelmed a year or two later it may be an indication you may just want to focus on that position and not think about promoting to an even higher rank for the foreseeable future. The higher the rank the higher the workload, and it is such a huge benefit to yourself if you are mindful of the workload you can handle so you do not burnout.  

  1. You Are Happy

On the opposite end of the spectrum you may just feel really happy and satisfied in your current position and you may no longer want to test to promote to a higher rank. You may have had goals of reaching the top of the fire service ladder but you are surprisingly happy as a captain, for example, and can’t imagine doing any other job in the future. Being happy in your job has so many benefits such as better health and feeling fulfilled in life. You spend so much of your life working, if you are able to have a career that makes you happy, keep it. You will not only be happier in your work but in your personal life as well. 

  1. Work Life Balance

Finding a work life balance as a firefighter can be a difficult task. The higher the rank you are in the fire service the more work you will be required to do at the fire station and throughout the community. If you have reached a work life balance that works for you, your family and lifestyle you may decide you no longer want to promote to any higher ranks in the fire service so you can have a life outside of the fire service. Conversely, if your work life balance is in shambles you may realize you cannot handle any more responsibility at work and this is as far as you can go in your career unless your circumstances change. You must evaluate every aspect of your life and decide whether or not a high ranking career in the fire service is your main goal in life, or if focusing on your life outside of the job is, and prioritize from there. 

The Takeaway

As a young firefighter you may have had lofty goals of becoming the fire chief, but as an adult you may have to reevaluate your career goals because of what life throws your way. Remember, if you do decide you are content in your rank because of where you are in life currently, things may change again a few years down the road and your dream of becoming fire chief may become top priority again.