I spent a few years in the police training unit, have a long history of presenting seminars, and taught college classes for about 12 years as a graduate assistant and instructor. You might say I enjoy teaching! In fact, had it not been for the accidental trajectory of my career into public safety, there is little doubt in my mind that I would have ended up in education. For that matter, I still may.
One of the ways I indulge my love of teaching is in the police academy, where I've elbowed my way onto the schedule for various courses over the past few decades. Recently, I've been instructing a two-day course called "Information Resources," about which I have blogged before. I do a short version of the course during the training of dispatchers and civilian police employees, as well.
This week, I had the opportunity to get onto the training schedule for our firefighter recruits. Monday morning, I did a short course to get them set up and acclimated to FireView Dashboard, our new analytic application for Lincoln Fire & Rescue. I enjoyed my time with the trainees. As I explained to them at the outset, if nothing else it was an opportunity for them to see that I do not have horns growing out of my head. One of the great frustrations of being public safety director is that my workforce is now so large that it is impossible for me to know everyone.
During the class, I was explaining something to the trainees that was really unrelated to my topic, but an important message nonetheless, one that I also share with police recruits and dispatchers. Many people go to work everyday and find it a drudge. They labor for the best years of their lives in jobs that provide a living, but little reward. We, on the other hand, can make a difference in the lives or our fellow citizens every single day. It is an incredible opportunity, one to be cherished and not squandered.
If the only thing that attracts one to the job is the adrenaline rush that comes from a major structure fire, you'll inevitably be disappointed at the rarity, that excitement will not help you (rather, it will interfere with your performance), and you will be a grumpy cynic in short order. But if you can take away a positive feeling from a medical emergency where you provided competent care and helped a patient and his or her family deal with one of life's frightening crises, you will have an incredibly rewarding career, because that opportunity will arise with great regularity.