I promoted to admin a few years back and was set up to replace the Chief upon retirement. I spent several years as his assistant and when his cancer really started getting bad I stepped up as Interim. I had a good run and fully expected the official position when the day came. (expected because the city manager told me it was in the bag) Shockingly the position was handed to the son of one of our city administrators, a good kid but with only 8 total years of fire experience and most of that on an ambulance. I had moved him into the office to teach our paramedic class and somehow, well enough said.. we all know how politics can be.
At anyrate I was moved back on shift to avoid the expected conflict and worked as Battalion chief for a year before blowing a knee. After surgery Im back in the office again helping the youngster out of some issues that have cropped up in the absence of experience downtown. Im miserable. This is not how my career was supposed to end.
The service has passed me by. Ive reached retirement age and can walk away but had intended to spend a few more years - but honestly there is nothing here for me anymore. I try to get something out of training our new recruits but frankly their enthusiasm and energy is annoying. The things that used to thrill and drive me have no effect anymore and not even the sound of the siren gets a response. I show up to work, do what I have to and hurry home. I feel like an outsider in my own department.
Its been like this for a couple years now and Im beginning to wonder if Im actually a liability. A training officer, as a veteran of the dept. should be an inspiration to the young guys, and Im certainly not. They respect me sure and some of the old hands remember the old me and try and light a fire under me from time to time but most just avoid me. Im the grumpy old guy the city screwed and is waiting for retirement, period.
I can walk out the door with a nice retirement tomorrow if I want, should I? Am I actually hurting the department by hanging around?
Get on the phone brother!
It may sound like Im depressed, and to some extent I probably am (doc says I wont be able to shake it returning to the scene of the crime every day) but its really not a matter of depression, something has just changed - and I dont feel like this is the place for me anymore. Ive seen guys get close to retirement and become useless, I dont want to be one of them.
Will retirement bring happiness or will you still be missing something.
I think the EAP suggestion is bang on. Sounds like you have a lot to offer just a struggle in mustering the drive to offer it. Perhaps you can identify what is going on and return to your enthusiastic self.
Good on you for reaching out and reflecting.
I find myself thinking about things Ive sacrificed to serve and wonder about picking them back up before Im too old. Trying something different, starting fresh and silencing the sirens seems tempting after years of never even considering such a thing. I always thought I would be the retiree who show up at the station for coffee and asks about the big scorcher the night before - now, I actually cant imagine my ever entering a station again once Im gone.
Ive seen a few, very few, but a few guys just 'peter' out at the end of thier careers. They stop caring, bitch when the bells go off and generally just hide out till their last day. God I dont want to be one of those. Better to leave with a little respect while I can.
Happened to me a couple times early on in my career.
The second time it happened, I resigned and went to another department where I started at a higher rank than my old dept.
Maybe you are just tired of the current department you are working for.
See what other departments are hiring-maybe working for a different department would be better than sticking with the dept you are on now.
I also recommend using your EAP program before you call it quits-it can't hurt.
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