I had literally read the first three lines and then paused the movie my husband was watching so I could read it aloud to him. Usually, I have a tough time with things like this but I clearly didn't know what direction this was going to take. By the end, I did have tears streaming down my face but this really did move me. It makes me happy, thankful, blessed to be able to do the job I do; and to do it well.
So now that you've read it, I want to tell you what it means to me. It means that someone actually remembered that there was a compassionate, caring person on the other end of that line when she needed help. Like she says, nobody calls us when they are having a good day. It also means that someone remembered that we, the dispatchers, are human. She understands that when we disconnect from someone's worst nightmare, their nightmare sometimes goes home with us; sometimes for days, weeks, months, and maybe even years.
This particular blog made my heart swell because I have a chance everyday, to make someone's life better. If you know my cops, my EMT's, or my firemen, they may tell you I have a knack of making their lives not-so-much-better sometimes but they all know they are a priority to me when I am here. I want nothing more than to make sure they all go home at the end of the day or night. This piece hit home with me if for no other reason than to know that someone out there notices. We aren't just a secretary; we aren't just a telephone operator; we aren't just people that help put other people in jail. No...we are the first line of communication when you and anyone else needs help. We are the ones that get to answer your call; not have to...get to! We are the ones that get the fire departments going; the ambulances sent out; the cops to your location. Please don't overlook us. Just because you can't see us, doesn't mean we aren't there and we aren't involved in your story. We are the voice in the dark. The voice that chooses to be there to answer your call. I couldn't be happier to do this job.
As I read the piece, I got to thinking about my relationships with those I work with. Being in a smaller agency, I am lucky to have great bonds with most of those I work with. If I have trouble handling something I worked, I know I have a group that will let me talk, will guide me and help me sort out whatever it is that is bothering me, and pretty much go to any lengths to help me solve my issues. It has taken a while to learn that but I do have a great support system here. I love that I normally get to hear the "end of the story." Not always but the majority of the time. We all have days that we hate our jobs but for the most part, I can't imagine doing anything else; especially without the people I work with now. Life would never be the same if our team would ever split. If you are one of my people, please know that appreciative isn't even enough to cover how I feel when I get to hear the "end of the story."
I will close out with this. In 2018, I have cried for more strangers than I have in the seven years I have worked here. I thought I was getting soft, weak. But what I realized is that I am stronger than I have ever been and I doubt I could care any more about people. There are many, many dispatchers out there that have taken more serious calls than I have and there are some out there that haven't. None of us are ever going to be alike and none of us will ever have the same call volume. The numbers don't make us great dispatchers. The heart does.
Sometimes, I want to reach out to some of these people that I go home and cry for. Mostly complete strangers. Sometimes I just want to send a note saying "I'm glad you're okay," or "Your situation shook me to my core and I just want you to know that I care." I will never do anything like that of course, but I think about it. And that helps me deal with "my side of the story." This job has me doing a lot of praying to the big man upstairs. I pray daily for those I work with and for those I only get to speak with on the phone. Again, complete strangers. Funny how that works.
If you have ever needed help and have dialed 911, please know that the person on the other end of the line is human. They have a heart and they have feelings and they are going to do whatever they can to help your situation. It may not make sense to you at the time but bear with us, the questions we ask are for your safety and the safety of whoever we need to send to you.
We're looking for a dispatcher right now. If you're interested and you think you got what it takes, let me know.