An obvious choice of course. Until I retired in 2012, I spent over one-third of my life working in emergency ambulances as an EMT in Central London. Up to the time I left in 2001, being an ambulanceman defined me. From having to work shifts, to being a union organiser, and dealing with things every working day that most people will never see in their lifetimes.
Even now, almost 21 years after I worked my last shift in an ambulance, that experience lives on. It lives on in my dreams, my attitudes, my life in retirement. It is more than a job, even though at the time it was ‘just a job’. It is an unforgettable experience that makes you feel part of something that so few people outside of medical and emergency workers really understand. Being present at historical events that will long be remembered, or doing as something as simple as to put a dead man back into bed to give him some dignity in death.
In some ways, it was a thankless occupation. The management treated us badly, many members of the public thought it was acceptable to abuse us verbally and physically, and the pay was low by comparison with almost any other lifetime career. But other aspects of it were glorious. The times when someone thanked you sincerely, the wonderful relationships and friendships with colleagues and nursing staff at hospitals, and the feeling that you did something useful, instead of making more profit for faceless international conglomerates.
I like to think of it as one of the truly worthwhile jobs. Working in unsuitable conditions to help people as best as you could. Usually too hot or too cold, tired, wet, and frequently exhausted by the relentless workload and the pressures of dealing with difficult situations. Trying to stay cheerful and positive in the face of unspeakable scenes and sights, and remaining professional at all times in the public gaze.
There could be no other choice for ‘A’.
If you want to read more about my time doing that, I have posted many examples on this blog. Here are some links.