Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Change doesn't come the way you imagine. It just comes.

Take winter for example. Who doesn't imagine fluffy white snow, village boys playing hockey on glistening ponds, and ice particles floating through the crisp, cold morning air.

Then December rolls around and sleet plasters the fluffy snow, the pond ice gets crusty and useless, and your fingers and toes freeze on that crisp, sunny morning because your gloves are wet and you forgot to put your bama socks on under your turnout boots.

Change comes and winter comes and we make the best of it . . . and we try to prepare. What gets us through is that we know that more fluffy snow will fall (and eventually melt, come May), we can make more hockey ice with a little work, and if we dry out our gloves and tuck the bama socks into our boots when we put them in the locker we'll be warmer next time.

Change has come to my life, and it isn't what I expected . . . except that I expected change to come, and I was pretty sure it wouldn't be what I expected. I accepted a position with Confederation College as the Program Manager, Pre Service Firefighter Program.

I've been job hunting for longer than I care to admit. I've even made it into the interview room a couple times, but I seem to have a knack for asking the wrong questions at the wrong time, which is bad when you are trying to impress a potential employer. My pie-in-the-sky idea of "the job" was something secure that paid a lot and allowed me to do what I like the best, which is instruct.

I imagined a job interview in which I wowed my potential employer with stunning presentations, nifty technology, and a sharp uniform. Instead I got a call on my cell phone while I was in town on other business, asking if I could come down and chat . . . which I did in my blue jeans and casual shirt. We had a solid, straight forward chat about the job. They learned about my background. I learned that the job was more managing than teaching, and that there was no guarantee it would last past the end of June (I already knew those things, but had hoped that reality was a little brighter than it looked on paper). I walked out not even knowing for sure if I wanted the job.

By the time I got the call to come finalize the details, I had decided that the time for change had come, and it didn't matter that it wasn't what I expected. I have been ready for change for a long time, and now was not the time to look a gift horse in the mouth.

My contract starts in January. We will stay in Upsala until the kids are out of school in June. I will keep my current position at reduced hours until the department can hire a new chief, then continue as a volunteer until we move. I don't like the idea of commuting to Thunder Bay (an hour and a half drive), but it's part of the change.

As for my future in the fire service, I haven't made any concrete plans. I told the other members of my mutual aid zone that I've invested fifteen years and a portion of my heart and soul into the service, and I would like to continue on in some capacity once we've made the move.

Besides, if I quit who will keep those imaginary anti-volunteer syndicates at bay.

Change is coming to the fire service. A journalist asked me what the Meaford trial could mean for the fire service. I said I didn't know.

The only certain thing is that change will come whether we like it or not. All we can do is make the best of it . . . and try to prepare.

After note:
Erinn read my blog this morning and said, "You don’t sound very excited about your new job." I am excited, but I’m also a combination realist/dreamer (a conflicted hybrid if ever there was one). I think in analogies, so here is one to describe my feelings right now:

Light years ago when I was a trapper, we’d wake up on a -30 degree morning knowing that we had to get out there and do our job. The thought of bundling up and strapping on a pair of snowshoes in those temperatures was not appealing, especially from the comfort a chair by a nice fire. I knew from experience, however, that within 30 minutes the blood would be pumping, my legs would be in gear, and I would be drinking in the Canadian wilderness like a fire instructor drinks a cold beer after a day in the tower (and my instructor buddies say in unison, "What does he know about that?).

I’m in that 30 minute transition period. I’ve been sitting by a figurative fireplace for a long time, but my trapper instincts tell me that the cold outside world will give way to new horizons, with lots to enjoy along the way.


  1. Congratulations on the new job, Tim. Keep writing!


  2. Thanks Gerry. Someday when I'm passing by I'll have to stop for a cup of coffee :-).


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