Not really car oriented - other than a chance of driving a fire truck :)

I was born when Carter was a president, so I am no longer a spring chicken. I am married. I am a Senior IT dude at a local state university - inching closer to a six figure income, I can retire at 57 with a good pension. Job is cushy, fairly easy, my boss loves me, my boss’s boss loves me, I like my coworkers...and yet, I am dreaming of becoming a firefighter.

They open the application for a firefighter once every year - maybe even once every two years - for 2 hours only. I managed to sign up this year. I am hitting the orientation tonight. CPAT test is in March, and I am sure I can pass it.

But, if I become a firefighter, my salary would be cut almost in half. 5-10 years down the road, I might make 5-10k less than what I make now per year - and I get raises here, few percent every year we have money in the budget. Chance of dying in the line of duty, or from cancer (apparently firefighters get cancer at alarming rates) grows exponentially.

I would work 48 hours per week instead of 40. I would earn less vacation time for next 15 years. I would earn less sick time. I wouldn’t spent night with my wife at least 2 days per week. I would deal with dead bodies, blood and guts, junkies, fires etc.

Yet, every morning when I wake up and drive to work, I imagine driving to a fire station. I hang with a bunch of firefighters, and I am craving the camaraderie they have. I wanted to be a firefighter for a long time, but my ex wife didn’t agree. My uncle was a firefighter, so that might add some allure to the job.

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Tell me - am I crazy? Should I follow my dream, or just work here for another 20-25 years and retire young-ish, and enjoy the world?