Love Is Not Enough

By Ray McCormack

Talk with any firefighter and you will hear how much they love being a firefighter. That is an amazing percentage of job satisfaction. However, job satisfaction may not be the correct framework for love. Love of the job is a bit different and goes deeper into who we are, how we feel about ourselves, and many emotional intangibles. While love is a strong term to use for any profession, in the fire service it’s so common that it’s almost the expected response to any passion query. Love, however, is not enough.

Making a broad generalization that the vast majority of firefighters love their job would and should be the glue that binds top performance and stellar engagement. That, however, is not the case, proven by the low level of job engagement that is visible on the Internet daily. So what does it really mean to be a firefighter? That question is not too complicated and yet many fall short on several levels. You can fill in your own categories as to what a firefighter should be; the big one is your engagement level in the profession.

Many employees are considered good by their superiors, yet when you come into contact with them they cannot answer your questions and their knowledge is so limited that you leave shaking your head. Most firefighters have shared those stories at kitchen tables around the country to share shock and laughter based on witnessing job incompetence. What happens when we are questioned?

If you wish to be the person that has limited scope and just love, then can you just explain where you lost it along the way, so that we can mark the path with a fork in road and so that others can take a different path? Love is not enough.

Keep Fire In Your Life

Ray McCormack: Tactical Safety for FirefightersRAY McCORMACK is a 30-year veteran and a lieutenant with FDNY. He is the publisher and editor of Urban Firefighter Magazine. He delivered the keynote address at FDIC in 2009 and he is on the Editorial Board of Fire Engineering Magazine. For more on Urban Firefighter, visit



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