Posted in Dispatcher Life

A Sense of Belonging

Training is going much better this week. The things I got dinged on last week are mostly behind me, and my trainer is using more positive, future-focused language. Much needed from a morale standpoint. Like most dispatchers, I’m pretty Type A. Driven, perfectionist, and harder on myself than others. Watching my trainer sign off things on our 10 page checklist felt good as it finally shows progress.

That’s not all that I’m really enjoying, though. A lot of little things that indicate a bit of camaraderie. Really liking those.

The people at my agency have been super polite and positive since Day 1. I truly feel like I lucked into a gold mine of a work situation and give thanks each time I step into the comm center, but there’s a definite sense of isolation for newbies. Even the people who are just released as call-takers are treated differently than myself and my academy classmate, a thin gold wall, as it were.

Since we finished academy and got out on the floor, there’s been a thaw. Spring comes faster each day. For instance, one of the other call takers and I were chatting between calls and she said I needed to get added to the group chat, a text group that is mostly used for arranging time-trades and such, but also just for talking. I, of course, happily supplied my number and beamed as texts would come in sometimes.

A supervisor and trainer, and someone I honestly think is dangerously brilliant and focused at his work sent me an email. He’d ordered some things on behalf of the group and I pitched in my share of the bill. His reply was a simple, “Thank you, brother.” I hear people throw “bro” and “brother” around a lot, but this guy doesn’t. Being seen as a peer by him felt awesome.

Finally, last night, around end of shift, a strange confluence of events happened and five of us got off work at the same time. Typically, it’s just two people (three if there’s a trainee like me). It’s not often that people wait around after their shift (Thanks, Covid!), but I was stuffing my things into my bag and my R2 unit and I heard one of the dispatchers tell me to hurry up. I looked back and saw them waiting for me so we could all go down together.

Earning a place among professionals like this has been (and will still be) hard work, but damned if it didn’t feel worth every minute as we strolled together towards the garage, joking about things and collectively groaning about others. I chose my career wisely. I just have to fight tooth and nail to never give it up.

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