We are all replaceable, but …


future (finger to you)
Image of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

At the moment when I write this blog, I look in the synthetic mirror of a 35-year career in the wildfires. When I started doing bush fires at the age of 19, I did not know that the work I was doing to pay for college and that my studies in business administration and vocational education in high school would become the vocation from which I would retire. But I have three to five years left before retirement.

Over the past 19 years, I've had the unique opportunity to work in the inter-agency environment of the interagency Fire Fighting Center and promote the leadership development program in the field. of forest fires. During this period, I helped feed many of the programs used in the field today. Some include staff rides, leadership campaigns, media leadership, the professional reading program, and social media platforms. I was also a logistical coordinator for the NWCG Steering Committee.
I do not hold the horn here and I want to stay as humble as possible. I could not do what I do without a lot of help, a great team and, most importantly, you, our supporters. I know that I am a pivot of the program, but I am replaceable. Even if I am replaceable, it could be difficult to replace me (or so I am told).

Part of the leader's job is to lead enough others so that you can be replaced. Everyone can to be replaced but who replacing you is important. If you have done your job well, someone should be ready to replace you or at least defend the type of person who should replace you.

Well, here's the confession. I will not know if I have presented the case. This work is a collateral duty for most. My agency supports my participation which complements my work as an editor. However, I do not know if my replacement (if there is one) will assume my duties. In addition, the people I have prepared as my backups have progressed in the service and do not have the time. They want to help; they simply can not.
It can be difficult to replace me, but it can be done. I only want someone. I want someone who will love what has been created and who has the will to improve it. There is someone (or a couple) who likes leadership like me. Someone who watches a movie and says, "It's an excellent movie about leadership and you have to inform the media coordinator for leadership." Someone who likes to read, write, learn and unlearn. There are those who want to participate and who did not know that this opportunity exists. There are organizations that understand the importance of leadership and are willing to give someone the operational flexibility to support the cause.
It's a job that does not come with a job or a paycheck (other than that of your daily job). A great team, among the best in the service, is interested in the future of firefighters. This comes with a joy to help others. It comes with a life of learning.
Are you that one (or more) who is not afraid of "doing leadership" and who is ready to make you known? Are you the one who does not have to be able to lead and voluntarily serve for the greater good? If you are, be sure to reach out. together we can make a difference.
I know that I leave the tools of the program better than when we started (many pictures did not exist). My hope is to pass on the torch to someone who has a deep sense of duty, respect and integrity and who is not afraid to lead.

Pam McDonald is an editor and publisher for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and a member of the NWCG Leadership subcommittee. The expressions are those of the author.