I had a visit from my (former) partner Slimm the other day. He said he had a day off, and he wanted to take the trek up to my neck of the woods. I’ll always take an excuse to see my buddy, and our kids play well together. So the ladies and children went to the playground and did what kids and mothers do at the playground.
Slimm and I sat down in my living room and had a drink, and I told him that I have been thinking that I am done with EMS. “Why?” was his question, followed by “what are you going to do next?”
A good question, without much of an answer.
I’ve given this EMS thing sixteen, almost seventeen years of my life. That’s quite a long time for someone my age, and longer than many people I work with. I certainly have more years in EMS than any coworkers my age. I started in EMS in high school, after all.
It’s been a good ride, but I really think it is over.
Over the next few hours or so, we discussed our futures, specifically mine. Mostly we discussed how I came to this realization that EMS wasn’t for me any more.
“But you’re a good paramedic” is one argument I heard. But it isn’t about being good. It’s more about being happy.
I can’t point to a single occurrence, but more of a sequence of events. Kind of like when you know a relationship with a girl is going nowhere. You try, but she isn’t interested any longer.
When I first started at Local Ambulance, people listened. Management was interested. They were excited to hear my ideas, my personal and professional goals, and we worked together to accomplish some of them.
But lately that’s changed.
Over the past several years, I’ve had many meetings with members of senior management or administration. I’ve brought dozens of ideas to them, from how to improve and establish a critical care program, to courses we could offer for continuing education, to beginning a community paramedic program. Each time I’ve been fed like a puppy on a leash, and then let go. Some of my ideas have been implemented, but have all failed. Maybe it is because I wasn’t a part of the implementation, and maybe not.
Maybe I’m just tired and in a rut. I’ve spent a long time focusing on other, different projects within EMS, and maybe I need to focus on just being a paramedic for a little while.
Part of me feels bitter, and I think it is rightfully so. I really don’t know if every service would be the same, but I can’t think that they would be.
Maybe I’ve reached a pinnacle of progression in EMS, and there simply isn’t any more room to go up. Maybe there is more room for growth, but not where I am now.
I like being a paramedic, but at the same time, I don’t like being a paramedic anymore. This is really a strange situation I find myself in.
Slimm thinks I should stick it out some more. He tells me that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
“It is if they fertilize it properly.”