How Many Different Things Can You Really Be Good At?

As each one of us goes through our careers either with a paycheck or for the love of the job, at some point most of us realize that there is more to the fire service than just fighting fires.  Haz-Mat, Technical Rescue, Water Rescue, Aircraft Rescue Firefighting, and Tactical Medicine just to name a few.  All of them seem cool, and something different than the standard pulling hose and squiring water routine.

So, you begin a new adventure and learn some new skills, then another class, and another skill, and on and on your training goes.  So my question for this blog is, can you learn too much?  When have you exceeded your ability to remain proficient at the skills you have learned?

I am one of the biggest offenders of not saying the word no often enough and the thought of turning down a training opportunity is not something I have done often.  But can you learn too much and can you reach a point where you can no longer be proficient in all the skills your certifications reflect?

I definitely think so.  I had come to realize some time back that as I try and balance work and family, I had to decide which skills and abilities were important to my job and which ones I wanted to keep doing and let go of of the rest.  Most of those skills that I learned I rarely if ever use.

It isn’t an easy decision to make.  Times change, lives changes, your time and availability for training can change and yes, even your motivation and drive can change.

Regardless of who you are or what skills and training you have, I think it is important for each of us to take stock in ourselves and evaluate what we do and what we are trained to do.

Have you ever asked yourself why you continue to hold a certificate in a particular skill or ability even though you have never performed that in the field.  Maybe you don’t really remember how to do what your certificate reflects?

If this is you, maybe it’s time to evaluate what you are doing.  Take a close look at what you are trained to do and really ask the hard question like why are you still keeping up that skill?

I am not suggesting that anyone give up what they have worked long and hard for.  Some of the training you have received is required for your job or position within your organization so their is no question about what is important.

Always make sure that if you have training or a certificate that says you have been trained to perform a particular skill or task, that you take it very seriously and constantly train on those skills.  Remain proficient and able to perform those tasks according to the certificate you hold.

Failure to do so is simply not an option.

Remember, training is ultimately each individual’s responsibility to stay sharp.  Despite popular belief, it is not the training officer’s job to keep you trained.  Only to make sure that training is offered on a frequent basis to meet the needs of the organization as a whole.  It is ultimately YOU that has to make sure you are ready for what lies ahead.  Because ready or not, we know 911 is going to call and you are going to need to get the job done.  And done right the first time, every time.

Be Safe and Happy Training!

Firedog