The Job You Dreamed of in the Fire Service For So Long Is Finally Yours, 4 Reasons Why The Transition May Not Go As Smooth As You Hoped

Once you get promoted in the fire service you will likely be filled with excitement for what is to come in your new position. While the excitement is justified after completing firefighter promotion, remember to keep your day one expectations realistic to avoid disappointment.

Why You May Be Met With Disappointment Day One Of Promotion 

  1. Hiring Conflicts

Once you are promoted in the fire service, whether in the station you already work in or in a new one, not everyone will be happy with your new role, unfortunately. No matter what leadership transition happens you cannot please everyone, someone will be disappointed you were the one who was promoted, but that is okay. For example, if you are promoted in your station, you may have gotten the job over a friend and coworker you’ve worked with for years. They may be dealing with that disappointment and may take it out on you because they see you as the one who kept them from promoting when really it was themselves. If you get promoted and move to a new station your new colleagues may not be happy to have you there because you were hired over one of their friends and long time coworkers that already works in that station. Maybe you were hired from a station they dislike. You may be younger than your subordinates and they don’t want to report to someone younger than them because you must be less experienced, even though you’re not or you wouldn’t have gotten the promotion in the first place. No matter what rank you get promoted too, where you end up working, or the new job you take on once promoted, not everyone will be happy you are the one in the position. So when you show up on day one excited to lead a new group of people and are met with a bunch of sour faces, just remember they may be viewing your new role from a different perspective. If you come into day one with the mindset that not everyone is happy you are there and are empathetic to that fact it will go much smoother for you in the long run. 

  1. More Work For Your New Team

As someone newly promoted in the fire service and excited to start a new job, you may not realize the extra work that the people you will be leading are forced to shoulder as you transition into your new position. In a way, they will be your training officers until you get the hang of your role as you have never worked with these people in this capacity before. Everyone is learning, not just firefighting skills but just to be a team of new people and work together. In addition, you may need them to show you very basic simple things you don’t know because you have likely never worked in that station before, like where things are located, how certain machinery operates differently than the ones you worked on before and so on. You also may need them to show you their skillset and do basic drills and such so you can get an understanding of your new team and how they operate. You may make mistakes they have to help you fix even as you get the hang of things. These may not seem like a big deal to you, as they are just doing their jobs by doing these things, but they also have their normal job duties to complete in addition to helping you get acclimated to your new role. I guarantee some of your subordinates will be eager and willing to add more to their plates but others could become more overwhelmed by it. Coming into a station as a new ranking officer means a lot more work for you, but also remember you are the new guy, you need to be trained and sometimes that responsibility falls on those you are in charge of leading.

  1. Change in Routine/Duties May Cause Upset

Once newly promoted in the fire service, you become your crew's new leader with your own set of rules and routines for how you like things done. As you join your new crew, remember you will likely bring a lot of change with you. The chances of you doing things or wanting things done exactly as their previous officer are slim. So when you get promoted you bring with you a major change in the daily work life of your new subordinates. Probably changes to the way they have been doing things for years. Even small changes like when you eat your meals, run drills, or even just clean can be frustrating to people who have been doing something one way for a long period of time. Change is a great thing, and I'm sure with the change you will bring a lot of learning opportunities and good challenges for you and your crew, but at first they may not see it that way. So take it easy on them, get their opinions when it is appropriate so they can feel like a part of the change instead of having the change imposed on them. 

  1. Everything is New to You

As a newly promoted officer on your first day of work you must remember, you have never done this before. This is all new to you even though you are the one in charge now. You may be in a new station, with new faces looking up to you for advice and direction but you have no idea what you are doing. This realization may not hit you until you start your first day on the job. You may have come in excited to lead a new team of people doing a job you love, but ended the day feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. You are in charge of teaching and leading a group of people while simultaneously learning to do a new job in a leadership role. This may even be your first time in a leadership/management position. At the end of your first shift just be kind to yourself and reflect back on what went right, what went totally wrong and things to monitor as the days go on. Remember you are learning, your team is learning, be kind to yourself and them as you transition into your new rank. 

The Takeaway

People simply dislike change. A change in a superior officer doesn’t just mean a new boss, it means a whole lot of change and adjustments in a short amount of time for everyone. Having a new supervising officer can be a breath of fresh air, but it also comes with an unseen burden on those you are leading. All of these things stated above may not seem like a lot on their own but when you put them all together you may be met with a crew that is overwhelmed, irritated and simply unhappy with the changes they are forced to work with. You yourself may end your first shift disappointed and tired, but keep going, keep learning and keep leading, because it will get better as time goes on.