Canadian Firefighter Magazine


Jennifer Grigg   

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March 21, 2016, Port Severn, Ont. - I recently embarked on the adventure of a lifetime by leaving my full-time job in the municipal planning department in order to follow my heart, and see where it takes me. It has been both a fantastic and frightening journey, but I’ve never felt more alive or engaged. In making the decision to start steering my life in a different direction rather than be dragged along behind it, I’ve discovered a profound sense of inner strength and self confidence (confidence being something with which I have always struggled).

The morning I sat down with my two bosses at work and told them I was leaving, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I knew in that moment that nothing they could say would change my mind, and no amount of talking could convince me stay. That in itself was such a powerful experience for me: having that kind of confidence in myself and my decision making was new to me. I loved it. Making that one decision – to stand up for myself and what I wanted for my life – became the catalyst for change.

I had given three weeks notice at work in an effort to help my employer with the transition, and found that my entire outlook had changed instantaneously. A co-worker had mentioned that it was obvious I was leaving because I seemed much happier. I laughed and said, “That makes it sound like I’ve been miserable to work with.” She assured me that that wasn’t the case, but I definitely seem more relaxed and at ease.

Some coworkers asked why I had given three weeks notice, since two is standard practice. I explained that I was leaving our employer on good terms and I honestly just wanted to help out my bosses. This decision to leave wasn’t against anyone or anything; it was a move strictly for me.

I’d had many conversations with the human-resources director, my managers, and even our CAO about my career aspirations over the past couple of years, so it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that I’d made the decision to move on, and they wished me well in my endeavours. I had tried my best to adapt to the environment and position I was in, and gave it my all while I was there, but it simply wasn’t my passion.

I always had this gnawing feeling that no matter what I did at work, something was still missing. It turns out that I was missing: my personality, my passion, my natural talents and abilities, my creativity. I simply wasn’t suited to that position. We all have things to which we’re drawn and for which we have passion, based on our personalities, skill sets and interests.

Understanding and accepting this wasn’t a bad thing; in fact, it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I could see the passion my coworkers and managers in my department all had for the work we did, which I didn’t share, so I always felt somewhat left out and detached.

I too have passion, but it’s for all things fire, not all things planning.

I connect with others through my love of the fire service. It’s where my heart, my passion, my inner self comes alive. I’m excited to see where this love takes me next.

Jennifer Grigg has been a volunteer with the Township of Georgian Bay Fire Department in Ontario since 1997. @georgianbayjen

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