Why firefighting is the best job in the world
You are trained to be a fixer of all problems, and that's pretty cool
By Scott Ziegler
Someone asked me why firefighting is the best job in the world when I was a trialman. Without naming any names, we will just call him ... Lieu.
Now the tone in which he asked me the question led me to believe he was looking for some sort of long, drawn-out explanation. I was a trialman at the time so everything I said or did was being judged. I got a little nervous. This guy was a well-respected firefighter, boss and person when it came to the DFD. I didn't want to say anything dumb. And I had a million things going through my mind.
1. putting out fires is an incredible rush
I could have started with the whole aspect of fighting fires. When someone's house is on fire, and you and your "team" put it out, it's the single most satisfying thing a firefighter can do. Not only did you get to contribute once again, but that fight ... the adrenaline rush ... the heat and smoke ... kicking in the door, actually truly "fighting" the fire.
2. You contribute to society
I could have mentioned how fulfilling the job can be. The job pays you in a way that no paycheck ever could. You get to contribute to society. Every man who was raised right wants to contribute and be a part of the solution — not the problem. When you go to bed at night, you know that you did something for your fellow man that day. And you didn't do it for any sort of personal gain. You are trained to be a fixer of all problems, and that's pretty cool. It's something anyone would be proud of.
3. It's not just a job; it's a team
I could have gotten into the whole team atmosphere. Most kids grow up playing a sport, mostly team sports. Unless you like rolling around on a rubber mat with a sweaty dude, or playing golf — I mean golf is cool and all for old men, but let's face it, no golf player was ever taking any cheerleaders to any secluded parking lots — unless he reached Tiger-status. You grow up being a part of a team. As an adult you sometimes miss out on that camaraderie you shared as a team. Mostly adults have to work and don't have that camaraderie at their job. Well as a firefighter you are always part of a team.
4. You aren't a politician
And then I could have listed off all the obvious ones ... The schedule is awesome. Chicks love men in uniform. You get occasional naps at work. The food is always top notch (maybe not always). You aren't a politician. You get to save cats from trees. You get to hang out with your buddies all day at work. The pranks you get to witness, and take part in. The fact that we can solve all the world's problems in the kitchen. The coffee. The fact that most other men hate when you come around because they know their wives wish they were with firemen too (joking). The stories. The life experience. The brotherhood. There's all of that stuff and more.
So when I was asked that question as a trialman, those things were going through my head, but I honestly don't remember what I said to him. But when I returned the question to him, he gave the best possible answer anyone could ever give. One very short and very simple answer:
5. "Because it is."
This article, originally published June 2015, has been updated.
More from Scott Ziegler: What keeps me coming back to firefighting