Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear- period.
I tire of hearing of newbies and probies being ridiculed, questioned, demoralised and many other forms of "harassment" and "punishment" by the older generation in the emergency services.
There's simply no need for it. Resepct should be given from day one that the newbie walks into the firehouse.
I'd suggest that if the older generation firefighters (and other emergency service personnel) want respect, then they'd better start showing it as well.
Respect is not "earnt". It's given automatically.
We're the emergency services for crying out loud! We're not the military where we want to break the spirit and mould the new recruit into a "lifestyle".
True story- I have a good friend who is a FF with the MFB here in Victoria. go to http://www.mfb.vic.gov.au/ )
He's worked for a umber years on the side for a safety and emergency response training company. And yet, becuase of his rank and appraent lack of experience he can't teach any classes. This is a guy who spends his spare time in places like refineries as a "Rescue Coordinator" for shutdowns, has been in the role of "Fire Officer" for chemical manufacturing plants and has a huge amount of real world experience in confined space rescue, atmospheric monitoring, HAZMAT response and so on. And yet, as far as that service is concerned, he doesn't know jack.
Now that's bulls**t! He's gone out of his way to get this experience and it only compliments his role as a FF with the MFB.
For those with attitudes like, "shut your mouth and learn from the years and decades of service and experience the "Old Timers" have to offer.", get over yourself! The oldtimers can learn a thing or two from the younger generation too. If I was confronted with that sort of attitude when I walked into your firehouse, then my blockers and brickwalls would automatically go up. You'd have a hard time convincing me of anything other than your arrogance.
Now I don't know the real context or background of this, but Johann von Goethe once said, "There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action."
My interpretation of this (and to perhaps put it into a context relevant to this rant) is the older generation FFer who doesn't think they can learn anything from anyone else (unless they've been around longer than them!) and commits to either a failing plan or doesn't understand new technology and techniques and ends up failing anyway.
Swallow the pride, admit that you don't know everything and can still learn a thing or two and allow the younger generation to learn with you, grow with you and allow the emergency services to progress....