There’s no hiding it: I love my job. Everyone I work with knows it, every one of my friends know it, everyone in my family knows it.
To me there are not many things that I find more rewarding than going home after a busy night knowing that I made a difference, even in some small way, in someone’s life.
As vain as it may sound one of the core reasons I love my job so much is that I’m really good at it. It just feels natural, it flows, it just…works. But that doesn’t mean that I just come in to work and go. Over the last couple years I’ve learned to rely on my training, listen to criticism, practice mentally, and develop tricks to help me become as good as I am.
I wanted to share one of the tricks, or habits, that I’ve developed that is simple but helps me focus at the start of my work week. I’ve always had a hard time getting back into the right state of mind after my days off. It’s a big switch going from quiet civilian life back into the hectic home of the station. After I pull into the lot and before I get out of my car I take 30 seconds to clear my head and focus on work. I make a list of three “goals”, for lack of a better term, for my week. I try to keep them to things that I can improve, mostly from the last rotation. Maybe last week I found myself slipping on getting a call back number to that routine call, or I hesitated a little on a policy, or was less than pleasant with a co-worker, or any of the hundreds of little things we pick up on when we self evaluate. In that 30 seconds I focus on little things I need to do to be a better dispatcher, put the personal life on hold for a couple hours, and help make myself the best I can be at my job.
I’ve found that taking that small amount of time to refocus myself helps tremendously. During my rotation I keep my three “goals” in the back of my head and make sure to hit on them every occasion I can. Focusing on and fixing the small problems prevents them from becoming big bad habits. And as we all know, bad habits are the hardest to break. In a job where lives depend on our habits, even a little bad habit can be costly.