Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gary want to be a firefighter

A wilderness firefighter, to be precise. He imagines this as his life-long job. He is very annoyed at people who are willing to be as committed to the idea as he is, because he has finally figured out what he wants to do! Okay, so he has changed his mind several times, but this is it!

To be fair, there are consistent themes in the things that he has been most excited about, and this fits. This one has the advantage of being realistic in terms of preparation. Gary always believes anything he wants to do will be easy. College will be easy. He knows this because Andrew has told him that the most difficult part is just making yourself do the work. Also he has looked at the amount of work I have said I give my students and has been amazed that that is all. Meanwhile, his work in high school is ... uneven. He does very well, demonstrates he is able, and then loses interest. His pattern seems to be that the hard work in the beginning of a term should be rewarded by blowing off at least one assignment later on.

What this has meant to me is his initial career direction needs to be something that does not require extensive education. He needs to be able to start quickly.

Ground crew for summer wild fires seems to fit the bill. There are a couple of short classes he can take which will give him an excellent chance of getting hired this summer. If he finds it is something he wants to keep doing, he can take more classes to get higher levels of certification.

So he came to us with a list of courses he could take this calendar year, and the discount the instructor would give him for paying for all of them at one time. I kept insisting on more information and I finally got it. It turns out that he needs only a couple of the courses to get an entry-level position. Of course, he wants all the certifications to do various tasks. He doesn't want to be a lowly member of the ground crew who can fell trees, or operate special equipment, or whatever. I will have to tell him this morning that Roland and I will only help him pay for the courses he needs for the entry-level.

I am preparing myself to deal with his disappointment and irritation. From his perspective he has finally figured out exactly what he wants to do. If he takes all the courses available he is likely to make much more money. If we only pay for the entry level courses, we are just preventing him from his best chances to get a job and make lots and lots of money this summer. That he keeps changing his mind about what he wants to do is totally irrelevant.

Also irrelevant is the fact that the course we just paid for was for was all day Friday and Saturday. His alarm failed to go off on Saturday and he had to call the instructor to reschedule and now will be forced to miss some high school class time.

1 comment:

  1. Do you have volunteer fire fighters in your area? Over here all the training for volunteers is free. You start with a wildfire training and then build on that. I'd say you're totally on the right track suggesting he starts with minimum skills. Fire fighting isn't for everyone, a lot of it is boring, and you must be able to work well within a team.

    We have several 16-18 year old boys in our brigade at the moment and their interest and involvement fluctuates often. They do seem to really enjoy the camaraderie it offers. I guess there's not many opportunities for teenage boys to hang around with lots of men of different ages (and a handful of women).

    Of course, it's probably entirely different over there. Still, I hope Gary finds it fulfilling.


Comments will be open for a little while, then I will be shutting them off. The blog will stay, but I do not want either to moderate comments or leave the blog available to spammers.