The rising costs to apply to each department and keep your certifications up to date (especially the costs associated with OFAI), just to be considered for a job that you may not have the work experience or interview prowess to attain hurts. Having to pay for a York fitness test without a CJO hurts. Constantly fearing that my eyes will deteriorate with old age before getting hired hurts!
While I'm not necessarily ready to throw in the towel just yet, has any other applicants or FF's ever pursued any other careers with some of the skills and certifications they've acquired for firefighting? It would be a shame to think of the thousands of dollars spent on Pre-Service, DZ licences, medical training, external courses would be without attaining the end goal, but at the same time I wouldn't mind hedging my bets a little bit.
Has anyone moved on from firefighting and found another successful career avenue?
I would start by saying, don't be discouraged. Many people are in the same boat, but persistence is what will get you on some where. Keep your chin up, and apply when you can to the departments you want.
As for work during the process - from my experience, trades are the answer. Start an apprenticeship! Trades are in demand right now, and most fire departments like to see trades qualification on your resume. It can provide you with an excellent career, even if it takes a number of years to get on with a department. And, can give you a useful skill for your days off!
I hear your frustration and like Alberta58 says, keep fighting.
Alberta58 is right about having a trade. Trades are a huge asset because it makes a well rounded individual that is normally problem solver.
My own son was accepted in two colleges in Pre-Service Firefighting. I told him not to do it. Not because I don't want him to be a firefighter. But rather because a person that graduates from pre-service after coming right out of high school is not marketable. A better advice is to get a trade, THEN do pre-service. That way, while you try to be hired for 3, 5, 8 years like everybody else, you have a job, you accumulate experience and you have a steady income. On top of that, once you are a firefighter, you still have a trade that you can use as a second job should you choose to.
I can only speculate that you are a little older, (the old eyes comment). That only makes you a better candidate with life experience. Don't give up quite yet.
Were you at the OFAI mentoring day this week end? It blows me away how less than 100 of the over 2000 people that are OFAI qualified would invest in their career by showing up that day, shaking hands and connecting with people who are actually actively hiring.
Professionals train until they can't do it wrong.
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