Perception is everything

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The post titled “Things I need to get off my chest” has gotten a lot of comments. Comments that I am glad to see. I enjoy the dialogue and learning what you all think about various issues.

Jay, at Firefighter Hourly commented on it and on Scooter’s incident on his most recent podcast as well. However, he identified an issue, which I believe deserves a little clarification. Jay perceived my comments on the tact of a certain individual to incorporate all of Administration as a group. That isn’t the case. Listen to it here.

The truth is that due to one person’s lack of tact, it was perceived that it meant all of Administration. Kind of like the comparison of one bad apple spoiling the bunch. All of the Roanoke Firefighters should know and realize that Chief Hoback and other members of Administration acted promptly and professionally during and throughout this incident. From what I saw, I cannot complain about them as a whole. I am proud of the way the entire department acted in this event which we never could have seen coming.

Perception is everything. Jay didn’t put a spin on the information; he just perceived it a little differently. Maybe I am the one who inaccurately wrote the information in the first place. Either way, what was meant isn’t what was perceived. This is not a new problem. I use the term “Administration” loosely on the blog, just as I refer to the rank and file as the firefighters. Us against them. That is just the way it is.

I have some control over how someone perceives what I say, unless they are trying to put a spin on it. Just as Administration has control of how they are perceived.

This flows right into one thing I left off of an earlier post. What is the deal with SOP’s, SOG’s, POP’s, memorandums, and emails? What the heck are we supposed to follow? POP’s are policies set by the City. The department sets SOP’s and SOG’s. At least that is how I understand it. It seems as though we now have standards set by email, memorandums, and whatever some people feel like at any given time.

One person is told this, another that; One person is reprimanded this way, and another that for the same offense; One person is reprimanded, another not for doing or not doing the same thing; One person does one thing and another that and both think they are right in their own mind. Standard Operating Procedures or Standard Operating Guidelines are simple Company Officer level ideals in which we learn in Officer I, II, and III. Classes I took as a Firefighter with other firefighters up to the rank of Assistant Chief. These SOP’s and SOG’s are put in place to define our actions when we work. This is one of the most basic ideals: Rules, Regulations, Standards, and Guidelines so that we understand our jobs and what is asked of us without much interpretation. The lack of these creates havoc in the workplace as well as unfair and inequitable practices.

I don’t see how anyone could complain if we had fair and equitable SOP’s or SOG’s. However, without them we find ourselves at the mercy of whoever feels whatever at any given time. This creates unfair and unbalanced management which in turn creates discontent among the ranks.

Why can’t we get back to the basics and see reform from the ground up. Correct the issue with the lack of SOP’s and SOG’s where needed. End the misuse of memos as SOP’s. End the use of emails as the only form of communication, not everyone uses email.

We have a great department, ask most any firefighter. It could be so much better though.

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