Since I've been a firefighter for more than half my life (!), it makes sense that I've picked up a few habits that can be useful outside of work. Here's a few:
1. I can get ready really fast. When I was on a hotshot crew, we had 5 minutes in the morning on fires to get up, get dressed, put our boots on, stuff our sleeping bag and anything else we had taken out of our bags back in, go to the bathroom, and be standing in line ready to go to breakfast. Of course, you could get up earlier and accomplish some of these tasks, but in those days we all slept under a yellow tarp inches from each other. Rustling plastic bags and moving around would raise the ire of 19 other people and was frowned upon. As a result of these early mornings, I can still get ready in 5 minutes. If you want cute, give me 15.
2. I never need an alarm. I just wake up at the right time. If I'm taking the dreaded 5:15 am flight, I will set an alarm, but I won't need it. I'll wake up. Otherwise I never set one. I know, it's a superpower.
3. I can sleep anywhere. In my fire career, I've slept: on a yellow school bus going down the road, on rocks, in bear country by myself with no place to hang my food, in motels where I was scared to shower without flip flops, and in a makeshift tent made of plastic sheeting during a flood watch. I can't always stay asleep (snorers are the scourge of fire camp and there always seems to be one close by), but I can usually doze off in less than optimal conditions.
4. I'm not picky about food. When I first started fighting fire, meals were heavy on beef and pork, both of which I don't eat. I subsisted on Snickers bars and potato chips (very few vegetables made their appearance back then). Now there are a lot more choices, but much of fire food is processed, and don't get me started on Meals Ready to Eat. I will never obsess about gluten, sugar, or anything else, because I couldn't fight fire if I did. This helps a lot when I travel and eat local food.
5. I sort of understand men. I say "sort of" because some of them are just incomprehensible (I'm looking at you, evil ex). I can also translate for them. Often when asked if they want to go on a fire assignment, my female employees will say things like, "Well, if nobody else wants to..." On one of these occasions I found my male assistant stomping around the office. "That drives me nuts!" he yelled. "What does that even mean? Say yes or no!" I sighed. "She really doesn't want to go," I said, "but she's afraid to say no because she'll look bad." "Arrrgh!" he responded. Because I've worked with mostly men for so long, it's helped me be more straightforward in saying what I mean.
What about you? Are there any habits you've picked up from work that you use in your real life?