#26 – Why’s He Yelling At Me?

Back in 1996 I had recently quit my job as a Fire Captain at my Fire Department and had returned to school to get my Masters Degree. So I wasn’t currently working for a Fire Department or a Wildland Fire Agency. Instead I had been hired as a temporary firefighter for the summer and had been working for a State Agency and the Forest Service. Because I already had 22 years of experience at that point and carried the commensurate fire qualifications, I was utilized as a Division Supervisor when assigned to active fires. This particular fire was located in eastern Oregon. I was excited for the dispatch because I had never fought a fire in Oregon at this point of my career. So off I went to Oregon as I describe in the following audio story.

What is significant in this story was my perception of the man I was working for. I had never met him before but from the way he spoke to me, I assumed he thought I was a bit of a drone. But as you’ll hear in this story, he had a direct and lasting positive impact on my career. The lesson I learned from this is to not judge based on some hasty communications or limited knowledge of someone. My advice to other younger and often female firefighters I’ve mentored is to not be scared away from the gruff communications style of some of their supervisors. You don’t really know what’s going on behind his mustache. I hope you enjoy the story and please leave comments. Thanks.

Episode 26 – Why’s He Yelling At Me?, BobbieOnFire.com

9 thoughts on “#26 – Why’s He Yelling At Me?

  1. I enjoyed your experience with “Joe”. Where in Washington were you in upper Fire management? I’m retired Spokane FD after 35 years in Fire in WA. My only real claim to fame was the very first “retardant” drop in Washington; Antoine Creek Fire. 5 acres, grass & sagebrush. Sept 1956, 9 miles N of Chelan. My fire. I was the DNR Chelan warden then, A Stearman biplane crop duster out of Pangborn Wenatchee had the nozzles removed from the spray bars under the wings to allow 300 gallons of water with a gallon of liquid dishwashing soap to free fall. The experiment duplicated what they had done in CA that summer. The rest is history.
    Ray Kresek


    1. Ray, I worked a few different places but I was the forest fire chief on the Okanagan and Wenatchee National Forest. Then I became the assistant fire director- fire operations for the Pacific Northwest and Alaska for the last 7 or 8 years of my career.


  2. Enjoyed this one Bobbie. I, personally have made very good relationships out of ones that got off to a rocky start. Best to reserve judgment!


  3. Great story Bobbie! I always thought you were one of the “cool fire guys”. I enjoy your stories and would not change your format at all. The down to earth manner you present them makes it easy to visualize. And I would never yell at you!!


  4. One of the greatest recommendations I ever received was from someone t was worried to ask. He was tough, serious, never gave praise or said “good job,” and when I red his recommendation letter, I was blown away on what he said. As a female and in the fire world, my confidence would have been boosted had I known this supervisor had thought that way, 5 year prior to me asking for a recommendation! Now as a supervisor, I try to give good feedback to my crew, when it’s due.


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