Confessions of a (former) Probationer.

My tags: significantly more beat-up since the last time we saw them.

Yes, that’s right. The title says it all; not only have I completed my probation, but I’m willing to share all the stupid stuff I did while I was in that period. Some things are more serious than others, depending on where you’re assigned. Take each for what it’s worth to you.

While I was a Probationer/Rook/Sh*tbag/Stupid-ass Rookie/Probie/Hey-what’s-your-name/Dumbass-F*ckin’-Rookie-Paramedic, I have done all of the following:

  • Fallen asleep at the watch desk, several times. These were all accidents, as I often tried to take multiple watches at night to help out the guys. Oops.
  • Napped at work (yes, during the daytime. Sometimes I was sneaky when I was really exhausted.)
  • Watched all sorts of TV before 8pm; when you’re deprived of it, it’s hard not to glance at it quickly while mopping the floor.
  • Sat on the bench in front of the firehouse, usually a privilege reserved for those who have completed probation.
  • Screwed around on YouTube, Facebook, Hulu, etc.—admittedly, it was often at the behest of coworkers, but sometimes it wasn’t.
  • Washed my car in the middle of the day, ignoring the phone and everything else I was supposed to be doing. That was a total goof, as I guess I didn’t make the connection that I wasn’t allowed to do that yet. I figured it was okay if I did it quickly! Sorry ’bout that one.
  • Removed, for whatever reason, my god-awful polyester shirt and red-tag combination that is the signature garb of a rookie. That particular article of clothing really, really sucks. Everyone finds their ways around it, no?

I’m sure there’s more; certainly that can’t be everything that happened between Academy graduation in early ’09 and now. However, I suppose it will suffice to bolster my list of pleasant memories from probation, of which there are (surprisingly) quite a few—once you figure it out, it’s actually not so bad.

But now that it’s over, I can’t help but think that it’s kind of like having a birthday: people ask you: “So, do you feel any different?”

The answer’s always the same: ehh, not really.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it’s over, but as far as anything drastically changing? I’ll still study, and mop, and do dishes. I’m okay with that. It’s part of this job. I just have a few more freedoms now.

It’s been a good ride thus far, and I only see it getting better. Just another milestone…

—————

Edit: Since nobody reads the comments anyways, I’d like to bring an exchange between a commenter and myself into the body of the post. For anyone who seems to read this and think that I’m simply bragging about how little work I can get away with, you’re an idiot. I love my job and I’m proud to do it; the fact remains that everyone gets lazy about stuff, and when you condense almost two years of hard work into three hundred words, it’s going to sound worse than it really is. Come work in my firehouse with me, then you can run your mouth if you still want to.

Commenter:

“I don’t think i have ever heard of someone being so proud of not doing thier job. It is an unfortunate and more common thing these days form the “new guys”. You can never know enough about a job that will kill you. Keep your head in the game and stop feeling this sense of entitlement.”

(In case you were curious, all these spelling and grammar errors are verbatim.)

My reply:

[name], I’m not proud of any of it. If you re-read the post closely, I’m neither praising nor feeling entitled about any of my actions; I believe you may have misinterpreted my writing. It’s simply a fact of human nature that throughout a year of walking inside the lines of my probationary rules, occasionally my foot will stumble outside the boundaries. It happens to everyone, but I’m willing to admit my faults and slip-ups because I’m not hiding the fact that I’m human and have the capacity to err. Your intentions in giving me advice sound pure, however, and for that I’m appreciative.

The “new guys” should never turn down sage advice form [sic] thier [sic] more senior members.”

6 Comments

  • Dad says:

    Further proof (as if we needed it) that you’re a man who finishes what he starts. Congratulations, son — we’re so proud of you!

  • Brian says:

    Well just don’t forget that the guys at The Farm are hungry for dinner! They had you longer than 15 did. Do it before the Captain gets back or I will call you more names than are listed in your article too!

    LOL, glad it all worked out for ya Firemen! Stay low and be safe. Congrats on becoming (regardless of what you might think) a member of the best department in the country.

    Sgt. B. McAllister

  • Doug says:

    Hopefully you won’t continue to get lazier.

  • Chewy says:

    “Hopefully you won’t continue to get lazier.”

    Thanks (Hutch?). Now I’m cleaning coffee off of my computer screen!

  • Ronald says:

    I don’t think i have ever heard of someone being so proud of not doing thier job. It is an unfortunate and more common thing these days form the “new guys”. You can never know enough about a job that will kill you. Keep your head in the game and stop feeling this sense of entitlement.

    • raisingladders says:

      Ronald, I’m not proud of any of it. If you re-read the post closely, I’m neither praising nor feeling entitled about any of my actions; I believe you may have misinterpreted my writing. It’s simply a fact of human nature that throughout a year of walking inside the lines of my probationary rules, occasionally my foot will stumble outside the boundaries. It happens to everyone, but I’m willing to admit my faults and slip-ups because I’m not hiding the fact that I’m human and have the capacity to err. Your intentions in giving me advice sound pure, however, and for that I’m appreciative.

      The “new guys” should never turn down sage advice form [sic] thier [sic] more senior members.

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Alex Capece

Washington, D.C. Firefighter and Paramedic

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Comments
stephen miller
St. Baldrick’ Support a Fellow Brother Fighting Pediatric Cancer!
Great job, brethren ... be bald (bold) even off the fire ground.
2014-02-22 09:33:24
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St. Baldrick’ Support a Fellow Brother Fighting Pediatric Cancer!
As I read all the above I wondered "How does it work?" Are fire personnel asking for pledges from the public to be paid to this charity when the personnel have their heads shaved? The ad above was not clear to me. I will read it again. The charity is certainly a very worthwhile cause.…
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[…] over three years ago, I penned a post regarding how firefighters and EMS providers were landing themselves in hot water by using various […]
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Jonny Hope
Farewell, brother.
So very well said Brother. Mike was such an awesome guy. Sure am gonna miss him and his stories. Mike touch so many people on and off the job. Mike will continue to live on in so many of us. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful tribute with us about Mike. 
2013-12-04 21:49:48
Scott Jones
Farewell, brother.
A Very toching tribute from a true brother. Thoughts and prayers to his family and his brothers and sisters in DC.  Scott Jones, BC Springfield, MO
2013-12-04 19:38:25
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