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to interject are or when a good time is to attempt to
steer the conversation.
DRIVING THE TRAIN OFF THE TRACKS
Lastly, if it’s going to cost you your job or make you
look bad, think twice before jumping on that grenade.
You may let off steam, make your point, etc., but you
may also use up your one coupon to even be invited
back to the next meeting. Many well-meaning fire
officers have blurted out something (or worse, went on
a tirade) and were never given another chance.
At a recent meeting I attended, a member with a chip
on his shoulder wanted to throw another member out
of the fire company. He had a valid point to go ahead
with this action against the other member, but this
person who brought it up had a history and tumultuous past with the other person. When he brought up
the subject, he couldn’t help but let his obvious distain
for the offending member come out. Everyone saw
through it. And, when it was time to vote, some people
voted against taking action on the offender simply
based on the way it was presented—as a personal,
vindictive action. The member who brought up the
charges was extremely upset and couldn’t see that by
opening his mouth he led the failure charge.
A TIME TO SOW, A TIME TO HEAL
Planting a seed rather than a bomb may work to
your advantage. Give just a little piece of insight, that
you know something about the matter, without full
disclosure. This may get the higher ups to come back
to you for more information or a clarification on
what you threw out there.
Be careful to not always give away all your golden
nuggets; you may need them for another day. Keep
the other meeting participants wanting to know
more. Attempt to entice them with your knowledge,
experience, or research on the given subject. Leave
them with some unanswered questions that will hopefully get you asked back to the next meeting, and the
next, and the next.
Be cautious on what you wish for. These other
participants may be so intrigued with you (or not)
that they may ship you to Boogie land, where you’ll
rot like a tomato on the equator.
Stephen Marsar, EFO, MA, is a 27-year veteran and battalion
chief in the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). He is also a
former chief and commissioner of the Bellmore (NY) Volunteer
Fire Department. He teaches extensively at the FDNY and Nassau County (NY) Fire and EMS academies, and he’s an adjunct
professor at the Nassau County Community College. Marsar has a
master’s degree in homeland defense and security from the U.S.
Naval Postgraduate School as well as a bachelor’s degree in fire
science and emergency services administration from SUNY Empire
State College. Marsar graduated with honors from the National
Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program and is a National
Roll of Honor inductee.