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Dormant pent up career pressure finally subsiding
Old 11-23-2015, 11:58 AM   #1
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Dormant pent up career pressure finally subsiding

Hello all, apologies ahead of time if I ramble a bit. It's been a little over 5 months of retirement for me and though it's been great, it has not been quite as easy an adjustment as I thought it would be. I did leave on my own good terms and prepared for years, mentally and financially. I consider myself a pretty laid back person, and had a wonderful 28 year career in the fire service, however I guess I had a lot more pent up pressure of always having to be on my 'A game', ready to respond, than I realized. Kind of a smothering feeling. I also get the feeling that I am about to be in trouble for being awol, but that's a good problem. Thank God the bad dreams are just that, and that I have quite a few good dreams with good outcomes regarding firefighting and ems calls.
The good news is that all this seems to be subsiding and I am getting more and more of that light and airy, almost euphoric feeling. Not many triggers, it usually just comes on spontaneously.
I'm just curious as to how many others, especially those that retired from the public safety/military sector went through the same feelings and thoughts during your transition, and if not, how did your transition go during the 5 or 6 months after you pulled the plug... Btw, I am not gainfully employed at this time.
Thanks, John
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Old 11-23-2015, 01:33 PM   #2
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I retired from a very large police dept 10 months ago. I honestly havent had any problems transitioning. Other than the first few years of police work, I have always been able to separate work from home life so it doesn't feel much different than a long vacation. I still carry a gun everywhere I go but other than that I don't feel like I'm on edge or always on guard or anything like that.

We've kept pretty busy with a move halfway cross country which of course included weeks of sorting thru things and packing, and then unpacking and sorting thru things again. Ive also been recovering from a serious back injury / surgery so my mind has been pretty occupied with that as well. We've done a fair amount of traveling already so that's also kept us busy. Overall, other than the back issue I have no complaints at all.
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Old 11-23-2015, 01:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by johnnyfuego View Post
I'm just curious as to how many others, especially those that retired from the public safety/military sector went through the same feelings and thoughts during your transition, and if not, how did your transition go during the 5 or 6 months after you pulled the plug... Btw, I am not gainfully employed at this time.
Thanks, John
It was a bigger adjustment than I thought it would be too, but it does happen eventually. It just takes longer for some people than others. As someone else wrote "It's hard to go from full throttle to idle in one day."

At 5 or 6 months I was still a bit antsy about "doing something productive" since that's what we're taught to do since grade school. After awhile if finally dawned on me that I don't have to do that anymore.

Nords wrote a good post about this a couple of years ago: The "fog of work"
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Old 11-23-2015, 11:57 PM   #4
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OP,

Is it possible you are experiencing a mild form of PTSD? It would not be at all unusual, after spending more than two decades in a profession which required you to be in a heightened state of alertness for extended periods of time, coupled with the dangers inherent in firefighting. It might help to talk to other recently (or not-so-recently) retired firefighters, to see if they have any words of wisdom. I doubt you are the only firefighter to experience a bit of a "rocky" transition from your adrenalin-fueled profession to "civilian" life.

On a personal note, thank you for your years of service. After 9/11, I have never taken (and will never, ever take) take firefighters for granted again.

Here's hoping that the periods of "euphoria" soon become second nature to you!
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Old 11-24-2015, 06:52 AM   #5
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I'm just curious as to how many others, especially those that retired from the public safety/military sector went through the same feelings and thoughts during your transition, and if not, how did your transition go during the 5 or 6 months after you pulled the plug... Btw, I am not gainfully employed at this time.
Thanks, John
I played golf last week with an ER, Chicago fireman. Not sure of too many details, but he had trouble figuring out what day of the week it was, so he did settle in to the ER. Good luck to you, and thanks for serving and protecting us!
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Old 11-27-2015, 11:56 AM   #6
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Thanks for all of your input folks! Utrecht, hope the back continues to get better. How many in your dept? We have a little more than 1100 with Austin Fire, and 2300 in the PD. Walt I'm glad the productivity thing is going away for you. I'm trying to not try! Calico, I've pretty well resolved specific incidents that were tough on our crews through Critical Incident Stress Debriefing meetings. We have a great program for that as well as a great wellness program/center and staff phycologist, but it's the 'cumulative effect grind' that I'm coming down from. So far so good. 48Fire, thanks for the story on this great Sunday! or Thursday, or whatever day of the week it is. When working, as long as I remembered to go to work every third day, I was good!

js
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Old 11-27-2015, 01:09 PM   #7
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Thanks for all of your input folks! Utrecht, hope the back continues to get better. How many in your dept? We have a little more than 1100 with Austin Fire, and 2300 in the PD. Walt I'm glad the productivity thing is going away for you. I'm trying to not try! Calico, I've pretty well resolved specific incidents that were tough on our crews through Critical Incident Stress Debriefing meetings. We have a great program for that as well as a great wellness program/center and staff phycologist, but it's the 'cumulative effect grind' that I'm coming down from. So far so good. 48Fire, thanks for the story on this great Sunday! or Thursday, or whatever day of the week it is. When working, as long as I remembered to go to work every third day, I was good!

js
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Old 11-27-2015, 02:05 PM   #8
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Wow...
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Old 11-27-2015, 08:57 PM   #9
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Thanks for all of your input folks! Utrecht, hope the back continues to get better. How many in your dept? We have a little more than 1100 with Austin Fire, and 2300 in the PD. Walt I'm glad the productivity thing is going away for you. I'm trying to not try! Calico, I've pretty well resolved specific incidents that were tough on our crews through Critical Incident Stress Debriefing meetings. We have a great program for that as well as a great wellness program/center and staff phycologist, but it's the 'cumulative effect grind' that I'm coming down from. So far so good. 48Fire, thanks for the story on this great Sunday! or Thursday, or whatever day of the week it is. When working, as long as I remembered to go to work every third day, I was good!

js
I'm very glad to hear that the department has the necessary supports in place. It's the least our first responders deserve, for all they do.

The fact that you're already having trouble remembering what day of the week it is is a good sign that you're adjusting well! I look forward to that "symptom" myself in five years.
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Old 11-27-2015, 10:40 PM   #10
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I consider myself a pretty laid back person, and had a wonderful 28 year career in the fire service, however I guess I had a lot more pent up pressure of always having to be on my 'A game', ready to respond, than I realized. Kind of a smothering feeling. I also get the feeling that I am about to be in trouble for being awol, but that's a good problem. Thank God the bad dreams are just that, and that I have quite a few good dreams with good outcomes regarding firefighting and ems calls.
Perfectly normal, and it fades into the background within the first year or two. As Walt says, everyone's different.

When I revisit with shipmates or read similar stories, I occasionally have a flashback. But at worst that's one night's dreams.

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Originally Posted by johnnyfuego View Post
I'm just curious as to how many others, especially those that retired from the public safety/military sector went through the same feelings and thoughts during your transition, and if not, how did your transition go during the 5 or 6 months after you pulled the plug... Btw, I am not gainfully employed at this time.
Thanks, John
You'll find your pace. If you miss taking care of people, then you'll eventually be drawn to volunteer work (or your own project) that lets you take care of people again.
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Old 11-27-2015, 11:36 PM   #11
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I can't even imagine what it is like to be in the fire department and have to go towards the fire. It must take time to decompress from doing that for a lifetime.

But even seven years after retiring from my safe and non-truamatic, but exciting career in the computer industry, I occasionally dream of being at work. The dreams have evolved to a point where I'm wondering why I'm still working when I could be retired.
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Old 12-06-2015, 12:15 AM   #12
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I worked in Aerospace for 50 years. I was at my last company for a little over 20, which in Aerospace is a record. I have lost track of how many company presidents I outlasted.
But the day I closed the door behind me, I have never had a thought about the place. Other than my former boss, who retired before me, and one other person, also retired, I have had no contact with anyone from the company, and do not care to.
I immersed myself in a new lifestyle, doing things I want to do, and giving back to the community. I fly for Angel Flight West and Pilots & Paws. I also volunteer at a local railroad society.
I use my expertise with Excel to do the data entry and data reduction for a food pantry that feed needy people so they can get grants.
And I volunteer with AARP and the IRS to prepare low income peoples income taxes.
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