This is the third in a series of three articles designed to give the reader a heads up on making a career change or moving into the ranks of the retired. In this concluding article it is the writers desire to finalize some guidelines that will not leave the traveler stranded on a dead end road. Â Throughout the articles the highway analogy has been used.Â The first article was called Highway to Retirement; the second article was called Navigating the Roundabouts on Life’s Retirement Highway and will conclude with this one, Taking the AD Exit.
The first article encouraged the reader start a new thinking and planning paradigm. Within this new process the reader was expected to go on a personal mental change adventure.Â The first task was to design a personal “Graph of Life.” This graph would help one gauge how satisfied one was with the following: Physical Health, Mental/Emotional Health, Career/Employment Satisfaction, Financial Stability, Marriage/Romantic Relationships, Home Life (Immediate Family), Extended Family (Relatives, In-laws, Friends/Social Life, Recreation/ Relaxation, Lifestyle (Degree of Busyness), Personal Life Fulfillment, Personal Spiritual Life, Church/Religious Life and Physical Comfort (Housing, Neighborhood, Cars, etc.)
Each item was scored on a 1 to 10 basis with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest as to where the individual was now and then done again as to where the individual would like to be.Â The scores would be analyzed and through the change the new scores would hopefully be attained. The positive attitude toward the new scores would encourage the participant to embrace the oncoming change.
The next process toward self- discovery was to ask seven questions: What is wanted most? What is thought about most? How is money used? What is done with your leisure time? What company is enjoyed? What and who is admired? And what makes one laugh? Once all seven questions are answered a person will have a means of personal evaluation. The next step is to identify foundational beliefs that anchor one’s life.
It is important to identify and clarify the values and things that matter the most, and solidify the nonnegotiable characteristics that best describe who one is.Â Look over the following list and circle the words or phrases that best illustrate personal values. If there are values not on the list that are important then add them at the end.Â Try to circle no more than 12 to 15 words. The words in the list are the values that best describe the participant, even though there may be others that apply as well. The words and phrases are not listed in any special order of importance.
The list: accomplishment, affirmation, ambition, beauty, being in control, caution, career, collaboration, community, compassion, competence, competition, creativity, determination, diligence, efficiency, elegance, encouragement, enlightenment, excellence, faithfulness, forward-looking, freedom, frugality, fulfillment, fun, gentleness, genuineness, good taste, growth, hard work, honesty, humility, humor, impacting people, independence, influence, integrity, joy, lack of pretense, love, marriage, making money, mentoring, obedience, orderliness, patience, peace, perfection, performance, persistence, personal growth, physical vitality, productivity, purity, quality, recognition, relaxation, respect for people, respect for life, respect for the environment, risk taking, security, self-esteem, self-expression, sensitivity, servant hood, service, sexual fulfillment, silence, sincerity, solitude, spiritual growth, stability, success, temperance, tongue control, tranquility, trust, truth, winning and worship.
The fourth stage of positive live changes comes in the second article. It is a mechanism for determining a personal time use chart.Â The visual tool that was used was the pie shape of a “Roundabouts” that are used on highways to slow and merge traffic.
Make a list of all involvements in which the reader might be involved. The more complete the list the better the idea of where one’s time disappears. Once there is a comprehensive list, have the spouse and children help, give each item an allotment of time. The next step is to slice the pie with the items on list.Â Name each slice of pie using all of the items. For example, one slice would be for each child. One might also have a slice for each pet.Â If a person goes to school then a slice will include class time and another slice would include homework.Â If one works at home that is related to work job then place that home work as another slice.
Once the time allotment pie is finished a person has an interesting picture of involvements.Â The next step is to make another pie with the slices equal to the amount of time involvement. The object of this graph pie is to have a visual as to how one is using the allotted time.Â Since we all have to sleep that slice will take up a major portion of time as would eating. It will be surprising as to how much time is given to certain demands and slices.Â It is understandable that each day and each week will and can be different with the slices in constant flux.
When one retires or change jobs the pie graph will have to be reworked and redrawn to fit the new demands of the new position. When retirement arrives, there will be a larger segment of time available for other items on the list.Â It is known that change is scary but with the help of a pie graph the mystery is not so intimidating.
Once a person has completed the above tasks there will be a more accurate way to see the future changes and how a person is going to adjust. One of the many choices of those retiring from a wild land forest fire back ground is to consider becoming an AD, Administrative Determinate. The number of AD’s needed on wildland forest fires is becoming more important each year. Â Does one who was in the wildland fire business continue as an AD or does one retire from fire fighting altogether? These are questions with which each individual must come to grips. What becomes of all the skills and friendships that have been made over the years?Â The friendships can continue and the highly honed skills are needed and useful.Â Each agency that trains its employees to fight wildland forest fires sets that person up for skills needed as an AD.Â Each of the retirees has sellable qualifications that are listed on the Incident Qualification Card, IQC.Â It is important to the governing agency to maintain the leadership and specialized skills.
The season after retirement is the key season for a retiree to establish this priority:Â Am I going to hire myself out as an AD and which qualification should be kept.Â The Training Officer, TO, will help in making that decision. Each area has specific needs for qualified personnel and the TO knows what they are.Â First, make sure there is a solid link with the local qualifying agency.Â This should not be too difficult since it is probably the same agency with which one worked before retirement or job change.Â The one change for each individual is keeping track of required classes and skills; it is the responsibility of the AD. The only difference now is that each AD has to make sure all the proper steps are taken and recorded. The Forest Training Officer who is in charge of all training will also keep the AD records but it is the responsibility of each AD keep clear and up to date qualification records. The one agency’s TO’s I interviewed gave each AD a Casual Hire packet which contained all the required forms and information.Â This allows the AD to complete all the required forms, read up to date AD information, latest rules, pay and policies, and become apprised of the dates for the required Fire Refresher and Work Capacity Test. The AD should also familiarize themselves with web sites: NIFC, Inciweb, NWCC, GACC, wildcat.net, nationalfiretraining.net
Once the Interagency Qualification Certification is set and is willing to “handle” the AD, they will start a required paper work which leads to the IQC.Â This trail will include all required qualifications and records.Â It is important for one to keep all personal records to affirm the training officers file.Â At the beginning of each year the Training Officer, TO, will schedule the required Fire Refresher.Â Many times this class will be given to all AD’s at the same time, if the qualification they hold requires the training, so the TO can address the AD’s specific needs and questions. Each AD much register with the TO before taking the refresher. This is an eight hour class and is given at many locations.Â This might include the Work Capacity Test and it might not.Â If it does, make sure the necessary clearance forms are completed.Â If the test is not given with the Refresher then each person will have to find a place to get tested and with the proper documentation. Since this is a required training there is pay attached at the AD rate.
Each AD is allowed 80 hours of paid training at the pay grade of the qualification.Â The required Fire Refresher and the Work Capacity Test are included in the 80 hours. The AD must be registered with the TO in order to receive any remuneration. The TO will have specific forms to be completed by the AD in order to qualify and they will also help in determining other appropriate training. These forms were mentioned earlier in the Casual Hire packet.
Since the AD is no longer employed by the agency you will need to qualify for a government driving certification which allows the AD to drive a rental or an agency rig.Â The TO also has the correct forms and procedure for each AD to follow in order to secure and qualify for the proper licensing.Â If one drives a personal vehicle to the incident; make sure that is allowed on the Resource Order in order to be reimbursed for expenses. The dispatch center will usually take care of that.
The qualifying center and TO will assist in all the steps necessary to make one qualified and hirable.Â They will also place each person in the ROSS system so one can be dispatched.Â It is always good to keep a working relationship with the TO and dispatch center.Â They will need to know availability and the number of assignments interested in working.Â Once a person is dispatched to the fire they will need to let the dispatch center know when you arrive and when you are demobed.Â It is also very important to let the dispatch center know when one is available for dispatch.Â The AD’s responsibility is to work with them so that they can work for the AD.
If the all the varied steps are followed the Highway to Retirement and AD work should be a little smoother without getting lost and mixed up too much.Â This process will be a person’s GPS.Â Good luck and keep the eyes on the road.