Ahhhhh, just another day, sitting by the sliding glass doors, listening to the ocean as it crashes on the beach. This is another great day in retirement!
Well, I’m not really retired. It is now a great running joke in the family saying I am retired. I am now on terminal leave from the Coast Guard. Essentially I am burning all my saved vacation time I had, as I await to start my new job as a firefighter. It is an incredibly exciting time, as I get to kick back a bit and enjoy not working, while I transition to my dream job. I was fortunate enough to throw a party for myself (I know that sounds pretentious) on Friday. Family, friends, mentors, everyone was there. I was truly blown away by the incredible turn out. Who knows, maybe it was the open bar…
But I digress. I addressed that evening how I have the best family and friends in the world, and I truly stand by that statement. After that evening, I was really thinking about what is to come. Here I am twenty-five years old, just completing a five year obligation to Uncle Sam, and I am transitioning to a whole new job. So many of my friends have settled into their career fields at this point, and I just ripped myself away from a very secure job with great benefits to chase my dream.
Granted, the job I am about to have is equally secure and also has great benefits, but its more than that. I had established a name for myself around Woods Hole, and finally had some rank to go along with it. Nothing crazy seeing as I was only an E-5, but at a small unit like I was at, that carried a bit of weight compared to the other branches. It was a difficult decision to make, to walk away from something that has treated me so well, to go off to the unknown so to speak. It’s not like I wasn’t unhappy with my job in the Coast Guard, it simply had ran its course in so many ways. I have a previous blog about that here.
The fire department, to me, is the real answer to all my so to speak problems. Better job satisfaction, better pay, more time off, more growth opportunities, the list goes on and on. But I have also made firefighting, in my mind, to be the best job in the world, and I haven’t worked a day yet. That’s how excited I am. I am backing this job 110% before stepping through the door. And to be honest, that is terrifying… but in a good way.
I am lucky enough to have a good amount of time off before starting on the fire department, and it has allowed me to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family, spend time in NYC with James, and catch up with friends. It also has allowed me a fair amount of time to think about the future, and trying to plan for it with so many questions still unanswered. I think it is really important to experience this as a young man or a young woman. We shouldn’t be getting comfortable in our prototypical nine to five jobs, we should be challenging ourselves, and chasing down our dreams with an absolutely aggressive approach. It’s why there’s that saying, its what separates the men from the boys.
No one handed me this opportunity. My father is a CPA, and my mother was in medical records. They had no connections to the military or any fire department. This has been a hard fought battle for about seven years now. I was fortunate enough to get on a volunteer department when I was 18, which instilled in me my love of firefighting, and helped me build some great connections there. Those connections proved to be pivotal in helping me pave the way to becoming a full time firefighter, but those connections do not take the test for you, or go through boot camp for you. I had to give five years to my life to my nation, which I will never regret doing; however, it sometimes frustrates me that I couldn’t have simply applied for this job and interviewed for it like so many of my friends have done for their jobs.
One thing is for sure. Because it has been such a long time investment working towards this goal, it is going to feel so so sweet when I get to start and say I am a firefighter, and I couldn’t be more excited.