Working Hard or Hardly Working?

When did it become “cool” to complain?  When did it become an accomplishment in one’s day to do less work?

We were having a discussion on Twitter a few weeks ago about complaining, and a perceived negativity that was starting to bleed its way from some folks onto the Interweb, and it needs to end.

Do we all have bad days?  Absolutely.  Are there times where I want nothing to do with EMS?  Without a doubt.  Ultimately though, being involved in EMS is a chance for me to do what I love, and I love what I do.

Since I was promoted almost 6 years ago, my time on the actual ambulance has been greatly reduced.  In the past, I’ve gone months at a time where I wouldn’t set foot on a truck, unless I was intercepting a crew, but I’ve moved past that and I’m getting more time on the streets where I get to “play” Paramedic.  When that happens though, I’m happy to be there and I don’t feel like I had a good day at work if I’m not sitting next to someone that wants to be there as much as I do, and I don’t end up with a lot of runs under my belt for the shift.

That desire has nothing to do with being a “company man” or my position in leadership that I hold; it’s out of a love for EMS.  I go out there and do the best that I can for each and every patient that I encounter.  It’s done selflessly, and without regard for how hard I work.  To be quite honest, if I come home and I had a particularly slow shift, I don’t feel like I was productive, and I don’t feel like I did enough.  I crave that feeling when you walk back into the office and drop a stack of completed paperwork on the desk.  I like having to completely restock and rebuild an ambulance at the end of the day because we needed everything in it.

In our services we all have those people who strive to do the absolute minimum, and their behavior can be contagious.  Instead of people trying to do more, and work hard in hopes that it will bring people up to their standard, they lower themselves to not exceed the performance standards set by those below them.

This is a challenge to you, my high performing, hard working readers of EMS in the New Decade: put the challenge out there to yourself, and those around you.  Grab those calls when no one else will.  Pick up an extra job to cover for that truck that might have done a little more work than you do.  Finally, encourage those around you to do the same.  With time, those behaviors and actions will shine through the negativity that is around you, and other people will start paying it forward, just as you are doing.

What is the secret to accomplishing this?  It’s rather simple: love your job.  Take pride in what you do everyday, and work hard.  It really is a rewarding feeling.  That couch feels better when you go home.  That frosty beverage goes down just a little more smoothly.  Challenge those around you, bring those low performers up to your level.  Don’t let yourself slip to theirs.

While it might be your boss’s responsibility to take care of those around you who aren’t pulling their weight, it’s your responsibility as a paramedic, EMT or first responder to do everything in your power to guarantee the safety and health of your patients to the best of your ability.

Love what you do, and do what you love.