It’s on the internet, it must be true!
Whenever I hear someone speaking of mentoring, I usually have two different reactions. The first is, “Hey, yeah, those are some good points”, the second is sometimes, “Who does this guy think he is, Brunacini?”
Just as with a lot of the stuff we see on Facebook and other medias, how do we know who we are taking advice/direction from? I know, I run a page myself, and I’ll probably ruffle feathers, but really. Where and how do we set the mark for what we take as gospel and what we dismiss as radical ideas bordering on the ridiculousness? Luckily, I have had a mentor for the 18 years of my career and have been better because of it. But just like any good friendship – we don’t always agree on things. We have had a couple of really good arguments over the years, however, cooler heads prevail, and we always end up back where we started.
I think that there are some great articles out there. Some pages do more to teach and instruct than others do (not going to shame anyone.) I guess what I am getting at is to pick your “online mentors” carefully. I started a page just to speak my mind from time to time and give others a place to do the same. Not to provide any earth-shattering new firefighting wisdom. That is the beauty of the age we are in, and the curse. Anyone, anywhere can just log in, create something and start sharing with the world. It is up to you to weed out the weirdos, and those that are looking for ego-stroking “Likes”. They sometimes use catchy phrases, cool videos and free crap. It’s hard to do, but you need to be able to distinguish between entertainment and things of real value. I think that in the end, we as professionals (career AND volunteers) can see through the cloud of BS, and these guys will end up revealing themselves. Our fire service community will police itself. The purpose of real training is to make you think. If you can have a genuine thinking session while reading or watching something on this jewel we call the interweb, then maybe it’s legit.
No one ever said you have to train only at the station or only while on shift. I do a lot of stuff independently. Sometimes that is what works best for me. The internet is a great supplemental tool for you to gain other views and see how things are done elsewhere. Don’t let the interweb be your guide. In the end, find yourself a “real” person to talk with. Someone that you will respect during this new relationship you will forge together. You probably have already thought of them as your mentor, just haven’t had the guts to ask them. So take that step, and begin the rest of your career. Be safe, have fun ~ K
Kris Hester – Firehouse Kitchen Table – https://www.facebook.com/FHKitchenTable