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Life outside of EMS?

Discussion in 'EMS Talk' started by sfx89, Jun 29, 2018.

  1. sfx89

    sfx89 Forum Ride Along

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    Hey everyone as someone looking to get into the field of EMS, i was just curious what the life of an EMT/Paramedic looks like outside of work. From everything i have read you just do not get what its like to be in EMS until you have actually done it, i was wondering what do your lives look like outside of work? Do you still enjoy/have time for hobbies or anything you like to do outside of work before getting into it? Does EMS as a career effect your life outside of work alot? Some people make it sound so demanding they have no time to do anything other than work and sleep.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
  2. VentMonkey

    VentMonkey calpuleque Premium Member

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    EMS is not my life, and anyone who makes it their life is sure to become burned out and miserable. It is a way to make ends meat, support my family and actual life. That is all.
     
  3. sfx89

    sfx89 Forum Ride Along

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    I'm not entirely sure how shifts work, or what some of the experiences are like first hand (i can only guess), some people make EMS sound like they have absolutely no time to do anything other than work and sleep because of how demanding it is, but i take it you have plenty of time to enjoy life outside of work?
     
  4. PotatoMedic

    PotatoMedic Has no idea what I'm doing.

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    I play with my wife and my kiddo!
     
    VentMonkey likes this.
  5. VentMonkey

    VentMonkey calpuleque Premium Member

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    This^^^. Nothing should ever come before your personal health and happiness.
     
    soflomedic14 and cprted like this.
  6. StCEMT

    StCEMT Forum Deputy Chief

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    When I was working a lot of OT to get ahead on loans, my time was limited since I was working over 60 hours per week. I've since cut that out and now I have a lot of free time. Working nights makes typical things a little harder, but I still have plenty of time to do things with friends and family.
     
  7. mgr22

    mgr22 Forum Asst. Chief

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    Pick any occupation, and you probably won't know what it's like until you've done it. The expectation from within our industry, like so many others, is that you'll need time in the field to learn the job after formal schooling. As for EMS affecting your personal life, that doesn't have to be any more of an issue than if you were working in, say, a corporate environment. I've done both, and I probably lost more sleep worrying about office politics than prehospital care.
     
  8. DrParasite

    DrParasite The fire extinguisher is not just for show

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    I'll be honest with you..... for many years, working FT in EMS controlled my life. I was working night shift (6pm to 6am), so almost all of my OT was on nights, I worked every other weekend, and worked a side job working 12 hours on a suburban ambulance. Con ed was every three months, for 4 hours, which meant another evening spent at work. Before OT became abundant, my regular part time job had me picking up extra night shifts (but when OT became available, i left the pt job because time and a half is always better than straight pay). And that didn't include when I was taking 9 credits over the summer because I was looking at trying to go to PA or med school.....

    my friends were mostly my EMS coworkers, who were on a similar night shift schedule, but I spent time and dated others who worked shift work (a tall long legged blonde from the ER, a charge nurse from another ER, etc). It's tough to have a social life when you work shift work in a bankers hours world (tough, but not impossible)

    One thing I think you need to keep in mind is many of the previous posters have years of experience working as paramedics, or have a working spouse. So they might not be working 60 hour weeks and picking up every OT shift they can to make ends meet, which is common among new people in their field. And truth be told, that's a good thing, because working 60 hour weeks when you have a family sucks.

    Think of if this way: you are working FT in EMS (lets say you work three 12 hour shifts a week), and decide to to go paramedic school (2 days a week, 4 hours a day, and then add another 6hrs per day for all the readings and other work), which includes clinical shifts (1 day a week, for 12 hours), and you want to have a little spending money, so you pick up an OT shift for 12 hours on your day off, and then you add in mandatory department wide meeting or con edu, 4 hours on your day off, and you see where your entire week has been sucked into EMS. Thankfully, paramedic school doesn't last forever, and if you find a sugarmomma/sugar daddy, you don't need to pick up every OT shift to pay the rent. And when your priorities change, spending time with the kids are much more favorable than working OT.

    I now work in the corporate environment, where I work 8am to 5pm, and when I leave at 5, I'm done. I might read and reply to an email, both that's it. I sleep in my own bed (most of the time, I do one night a week on the engine and have been working on completing one of my FF certifications), and spend much of my free time chasing after a toddler. I loved being on the ambulance, and had a lot of fun on the ambulance, but love my current work/life balance.
     
  9. shfd739

    shfd739 Forum Deputy Chief

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    Im at 17 years of EMS time. First 8 months was 24/48 as an EMT then 16 months of 8hr dispatch shifts that rotated every month.During that time I was paramedic school that met on various nights/days. The last 15 years have been working as a paramedic on 12hr shifts on a 2-2-3 rotation. My wife became a paramedic the same time I did so our shifts have always matched up or were only 1 day different with some days off together. Now my wife is an instructor working Monday to Friday 8-5 which has helped with daycare and life tremendously.

    I will say now that I’ve moved up to an Associate QIC position and joined our SOU team the balance has been thrown off because of the new time demands and commitments but it still works out in the end.

    Ive always felt that I had a life outside of work. Our budget has not depended on overtime and we only worked OT to make extra money for something. Work is just that-work. It’s not my life and certainly not my identity.
     
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  10. Gurby

    Gurby Forum Asst. Chief

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    My 2nd year as a paramedic I lucked into a shift working 2x24's per week. That's one day on, 3 days off, one day on, 2 days off. As a single guy with no wife/kids/etc, I had more free time than I knew what to do with.
     
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  11. Houstonemt

    Houstonemt Forum Ride Along

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    Around my area we tend to run 24 hours on, 24 hours off,24 on and4 days off.
     
  12. Remi

    Remi Forum Deputy Chief Premium Member

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    I think the main reasons why EMS is more of a "lifestyle" than a job to so many people, is that such a large percentage of folks in EMS are young and got into it specifically for the excitement and looking for an identity, and have not yet developed coping skills and interests and grounding mechanisms (having a family of their own, for instance) outside of their job.

    You take that out of the equation, and there are plenty of examples of people who make a career out of EMS and treat it just like the "job" that it is. Go to work, work hard to do a good job, enjoy what you do, and then leave after your shift. And aside from doing some reading and maybe going to a class or conference here and there, you don't think about work at all until it's time for your next shift. Just look at some of the more experienced and mature paramedics out there. Hopefully some more (I know @VentMonkey and @PotatoMedic, among others, already did) will chime in, because I do think this is an important thing in EMS.

    Work to live (i.e. pay your bills and enjoy life), NOT live to work.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
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  13. Aprz

    Aprz Forum Deputy Chief

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    I always go to the same restaurants every Tuesday. I don't do anything on Wednesday or Thursday. I work Friday - Monday. I've had the same shift, same hours, and same partner for two years. For entertainment, I play Counter Strike Source or binge watch Netflix. Every once in a blue moon, I'll go to San Diego to visit my brother (who moved in with us recent, but still considering vacationing in San Diego). I am really boring. I mostly sleep. Oh, I like to drink boba tea and eat tea eggs almost everyday. I used to get a lot of pho, but been in the tea mood latelg. EMS is unfortunately kind of my life. If I didn't do it, I am not sure what I would do.
     
  14. Josh4010

    Josh4010 Forum Probie

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    I’m a medic and I work 24 hours and I’m off 48 hours. I work about 120-130 hours every 2 weeks roughly. I know it sounds like a lot of hours but I actually get a good bit of time off. I only work 2-3 days a week. I been in EMS about 5 years now. Usually I don’t let work interfere with my personal life. I leave work at the door. But sometimes when you are working 24’s and you have been going non stop, call after call with no sleep it can affect your first off day. For example when that happens I will sleep until 1-2 pm the next day and I wake up groggy the whole day and just in a bad mood. Or sometimes if I get a rough call I will be distant around my family and just be in a bad mood. But for the most part I have a lot of time off and I spend it with my wife and daughter, play Xbox, fortnight, call of duty, halo, Netflix, cook out, drink beers and just unwind. It’s all about balance man.
     
  15. soflomedic14

    soflomedic14 Forum Crew Member

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    I’m a 6th year FF/Paramedic and I work 24 hours and then I’m off 48 with a Kelly week. EMS is a passion of mine but it is not my life. You need to learn to prioritize yourself from the get-go. Find some hobbies you love and pursue them on your time off. Personally, I bodybuild and compete and I own a business so those, aside from time with friends and family, take up my spare time. It’s all about learning to balance your work and personal life! Don’t burn yourself out early on
     
  16. Lo2w

    Lo2w Forum Captain

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    I'm working to get to better work/life balance. It wasn't an easy relocation to take this job and I've been working a lot of extra to make up for the pay cut during the academy process. Medic school next year and then hopefully I can start to relax. I did just get my fishing liscense and plan to find some moments there to enjoy. Schedule will definitely play a big part if I decide to move from here in the near future.
     
  17. VentMonkey

    VentMonkey calpuleque Premium Member

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    I think @Remi summed it up pretty well in the first paragraph of his thread post. The only thing I would elaborate on is that I think that the EMS “bug” transcends all ages.

    I’ve seen older people come into this field ready to save the world only to find out that they, too, were lied to. The leg up most of them had—and again as Remi points out—is the power of age, wisdom, and coping mechanisms; typically healthier ones at that.

    While nothing new, if we as a field didn’t “sexy up” this line of work from the first day of EMR/ EMT class I doubt we’d have a line of cape-wearing malcontents waiting outside of the door like we continue to have. This would not be a bad thing.
     
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  18. NomadicMedic

    NomadicMedic EMS Edumacator

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    Might be a little hypercritical for any of us to comment on this, especially if we’re doingnit from home... when we should be NOT thinking about EMS.

    I’ll admit, I like my job. A lot. It may be one of the best jobs in EMS, actually. And I think about work when I’m not there. But, I’m not thinking about calls and putting lights on my car ... I’m thinking about new ways to engage my students. Better ways to set up simulation. A new idea for video based learning. How to fix my f’ed up FTO program....

    And yeah, I’m a bit of a whacker. I have a radio, and I’ll occasionally turn it on or look at the CAD when I see a truck go flying by.

    It’s important to have work/life balance but it’s ridiculous to think I’m going to turn off something I’m passionate about just because I left the office for the day.
     
  19. soflomedic14

    soflomedic14 Forum Crew Member

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    I agree with this! I love my job in EMS as well and I’m very proud of it. Of course we all have lives outside of our jobs but like you, I think positively about my job when I’m not there and think of ways to improve the department or my own personal skills
     
  20. VentMonkey

    VentMonkey calpuleque Premium Member

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    This is me.

    I don’t “love” my job, but do really like it. With that, my girls constantly ask what I do, which I admittedly downplay. They also want to be a “flight medic, like dad” to which I usually reply it’s a job like most, as I wish/ want them to do so much more.

    Most importantly, I want them to know the clock stops when your shift is over. Life is family, and family is life. Anyhow that’s my sappy *** rendition, lol.
     

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