“Quantity over Quality”
By Omar De Los Rios, CM 107
When can we honestly say that a person is selected for a job or for a promotion because he really deserves it, or because he has all the qualifications and experiences? Why is it more important where you come from than what you have done in order to earn something? In this blog I would like to talk about a serious topic where even lives have been put to risk. Due to the “politically correct” mentality of certain individuals that are willing to bring a higher risk in jobs like Emergency Management and Fire Services or even with our Military that still fighting a war, hiring practices are endangering lives. Most of these individuals have never ran into a burning building or put on a uniform and sacrifice anything. When can we honestly say it’s enough?
Let me begging with an Article I read (4); that talks about the 2017 New York City Fire Department (FDNY) entry level for new aspiring candidates. This article states how most candidates where able to pay and be coached in order to answer the most difficult questions, how these candidates where able to cheat their way into the system and most likely got selected to move forward in the hiring process not due to their abilities to perform Fire and Emergency tasks, but based solely in their personal abilities. Moving forward, how many of these candidates will be assigned to an Emergency response team and will be able to perform all tasks required to be part of a team, or even be a team player? I had a conversation with a Battalion Chief within the FDNY that clearly stated than the quality of candidates coming in the FDNY has drop drastically because new candidates are not bringing to the table the desire and love for the service that is a key component to work well within the Emergency Services. Most of these candidates are with the FDNY because of the benefits and rewards that come with being a firefighter, but not all them are willing to put their lives at risk for either their coworkers or somebody that has called to be rescue. Firefighters have also been accused of looting. It’s a shame that a service as important as the Emergency Services get politicalized just because of certain people. Now, let’s look at the future; how many of the firefighters will get promoted? Will they have the qualities and experience to lead and take precise decisions that will affect the outcome of operations? A perfect example of these can be seen in the Article about the NYPD Captain that went home when his 2 officers were shot (5).
But the FDNY is not the only service that is suffering the consequences of lowering the standards in order to attract unqualified candidates in order to have a higher hire. We can see this problem more and more within the Military, Americans are being raised without a sense of patriotism or love for the Service to others; most families prefer their loved ones to go to college and get an education instead of joining the Military, which is perfectly understandable, but many see the Military as a way out of poverty and a way to have a stable job. Most of these recruits joined the Army for college money and the benefits that come after successfully serving their 3 years commitment. What happens within 3 years served is what makes the difference; a lot of them come and put their 110% effort to and be an essential part of a team, to perform their duties and grow a be a productive member of the Military and society, but one out of ten soldiers join for the wrong reason, or realize that the Military is not something he really wants to do. Tthis is when Commanders with Basic Training prefer to “Push them forward” and send them to Units where they will become a bigger problem. I, as Platoon Sargent, has seen first-hand the quality of Soldiers coming to the Units; some of us leaders question how these Soldiers made it so far when they cannot even perform basic soldiering tasks such as passing the physical exam, qualifying with a weapon or having knowledge of their job. I had a Soldier that didn’t even know the Soldiers Creed, and that is one task that soldiers are supposed to know from day1 in the Military because it is indoctrinated to them 24/7. Now, some of these individuals managed to stay long enough to get automatically promoted to a leadership positions; a few of them do not know the difference between left or right, and now they are in-charge of a team.
Finally, this bring my point about “The Peter Principle” (3), a person can get promoted because they are really good at what they do but his leadership skills are very low or a person can get promoted because he is really good at leading, but he lacks the basic understanding of his job, he lacks abilities and they can’t perform to the standard. Standards were created based on experiences and bad and good calls from the pass where lessons were learned and safety points where put in place in order to make things or an individual better; lowering the standards just because certain candidates believe is too hard for them harms the outcome and the final product desired. If a person really wants to be a Firefighter or a Soldier, it should be solely because their abilities.