How to Have an Easy Life: 3 Lessons from a Fireman

I am not fond of working, I want an easy life.  I’d far rather lie on a beach than be sitting in an office.

My mate Dave has an easy life.  He is a fireman.  They have an easy life, all they do is sit about, waiting for a phone call, reading the paper and drinking tea.  Easy life.

How did Dave get such an easy life?  He tells me it is because they got rid of the work.  He was even good enough to tell me how they did it:

Step 1:  Mitigate it

Stop the work coming in the first place.  Look at all the reasons for work, all the failures, all the waste, all the rework and stop it from happening.

Firemen mitigate work, they spend time walking round night clubs and shopping centres, fitting smoke alarms, installing sprinkler systems and checking fire doors.

Step 2:  Automate it

Invest in the marvels of technology to make your life easier.  Buy conveyor belts, computers, robots.  Accept that the work is there, but work the work faster, more intelligently.

Firemen automate work, they buy bigger fire engines, more powerful pumps and the world’s biggest can openers.

Step 3: Complete it

If you have to do the work, make sure you only do it once.  Do exactly what you are asked to do there and then.  Resolve the issue.  Stop the work creating more work.

Fireman complete work, there is nothing more embarrassing for a fireman than to have to go back to a fire that he has already put out once.

Firemen do it better

All of that is obvious, we can all do those things, but Dave assures me that firemen do it better than anybody else.  They get their priorities straight

Dave tells me that most people:

  • Love to put out fires
  • Enjoy buying shiny new toys
  • And get so bored doing the maintenance that they give up

Dave also tells me he would far rather condemn a gas fire than pull somebody out of a burning building.

On reflection he has a point.

Mitigating work is dull tedious, boring and distinctly un-sexy.

But it gets results.

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Dave having a break

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Image by bionicteaching


  1. Hi James,
    I like it. Work so that you don’t have to work.


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