Monday, June 15, 2009

Rewind Button?

[20 Oct 2006 | Friday]

Current mood: peaceful
Category: Life

Every once in a while, the subject comes up. It came up again while working this week. The subject? How could I have turned down an $80,000 per year (to start) job to be an EMT (and eventually a paramedic)?

Well, if you've read my short history, you can probably figure out what kind of job it would have been. Long story short, I turned down a job at Detroit Edison's Fermi 2 nuclear power plant (in Monroe) way back in 1994 (has it really been that long?), pretty much right after I got out of the Navy.

I went through the entire interview process after being selected in the top 20 of over 2000 applicants, and was offered the job at the end of the interview process. I turned it down, because I wanted to give EMS a try. That's what I told them.

Nicole (Muppet) and a few others who already know the story have a hard time agreeing with what I did. That's when I hear "You're a flippin' idiot" or "You're crazy" or something similar. Why did I do it? To be honest, I couldn't really give you an answer that you'd accept, let alone one that I'd really believe. I don't really know, other than I do remember really wanting to give EMS a try. I think I had just finished my EMT course. Heck, I'm getting old. I might not even have signed up to take the course yet, for all I know. Had absolutely NO IDEA if I'd like it or if would be something I could call a career. I did know that I did like my job in the Navy but I wasn't entirely sure if I could do it for the rest of my life, even for the money.

I'm absolutely positive that if I had taken the job at Fermi that I'd easily be making six figures by now. I'd probably be married and have a couple of kids, a nice house and a few nice cars. Probably a nice life. Wild guesses to be sure, but when you think about "what would've happened if....", I think you can grant me a few wild, educated guesses.

I guess the most important question would be: Was it the right choice? Or: If I had or could do it all over again, what would I do? Obviously, there is tremendous speculation any time you have a chance to hit the rewind button, but the question still remains. I am fairly certain that any and all of us wish we had a rewind button at some point in our life. We said the wrong thing; made a right turn instead of a left; basically made a wrong decision. I guess that the reason we don't have a rewind button is because we need to learn and grow as we age, regardless of the decision made. If you make a wrong decision, have to live with the consequences of your actions. It's called building character, taking responsibility for your actions, and learning from your mistakes.

No matter whether the decision you made is the right decision or the wrong decision (or even no decision), there is always repercussions (effects). Those repercussions or effects may be felt immediately or possibly not for years. Your life changes a little bit on every decision you make or don't make. Left or right, right or wrong, black or white, night or day. What may seem like a small decision might turn out to be life-altering. I think that some of my patients over the years would agree with me on that one. The best that any of us could possibly hope for is that when you go to bed after a day of hard decisions, is that you're able to sleep soundly. And I sleep soundly.

So, to answer the question: Yes! I think I made the right decision. Did I think so at the time? Probably not. I am fairly positive that I knew there was a lot of unknowns that didn't have answers at the time. There were lots of uncertainties. Did everybody think I was crazy? Absolutely!

I know that today, right now, I can honestly say that I did make the right decision. How could I pass up the money? I don't know...but I did. For some reason, I guess I felt it was just the right thing to do at the time.

Why do I think I made the right decision? Imagine looking through my eyes for a second. What do I see when I wake up every morning? I see two loving parents that wish their son was married and had a few kids that they could call grandchildren. But I know that they love and respect me for who I am regardless. They know I love my job and that I am happy. I see my brothers, my aunts and uncles and my cousins. I see Nicole, Cherie and their families. I see John and Karin and their family. I see Kimmy and Chuck and their family. I see Dave and Kyrsten and their family. I see Amy and Keith and their soon-to-be family. I see Melissa and Mike and their family. I see Marianne and Mike and their family. I see Beasy and Mike and their family. I see Mary, Rob, Sarah and Steve, Rich, Ryan, Holly, Christie, Megan, Apes, Sandy, Heather, Lisa, Poonie and Lucy, Sassypants and Alex and Grandpa, Eric, Jeff, Alyshia, Carmen and Jim, Trina and Mark, Andy and Sandy, Carrie and Jason and all of their families (if I didn't include you, it's not because I didn't think of you. I'd be here all night!). I see literally hundreds of friends. I see people I didn't know two minutes ago, with pained eyes and hearts, pleading to me to make them feel better. I see doctors, nurses, unit clerks, PCA's, EMT's, and paramedics. I see EMT and paramedic students. I see police officers, sherriff deputies and firefighters.

When I finally close my eyes at night to rest a tired mind, body and soul, I sleep soundly because I am blessed to know each and every one of you, to be able to call you my friends and my family, because I helped you or taught you or just because I know you. And (as it turns out 12 years later), I have the best job on the planet! I have a job that I love to come to work to every day. That's how I know I made the right decision.

The other answer? Not on my life would I want to do it over again! One tiny decision made everything right in my world. I can sleep soundly with that decision. Throw away the rewind button. I don't need it. I'll live with my decisions, good or bad. I don't need the money either. I have something far more valuable!

God Bless!


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