Traits Of The “Everyday Hero."

Traits Of The “Everyday Hero."

By Marisa Wolch


Every job has some level of pressure – we all have deadlines to meet, a pace we’re expected to work at, and a need to show results. While work pressure can be inevitable, it can vary based on the role. For example, compare working in customer service with working in an office setting. People in these jobs may experience pressure in their daily tasks, but the type of pressure experienced in each job varies.

But when jobs require you to save or protect lives, this pressure can increase tenfold – such as working in emergency services, including firefighters, police, paramedics, nurses, doctors and 911 operators. Other jobs may also require you to protect lives and ensure safety, such as traffic controllers, security guards, correctional officers, hazmat workers, coast guards, or even the armed forces.

The type of pressure associated with these jobs isn’t for everyone. But, if you possess certain traits, you may find that you’re able to handle a career in these fields. Keep reading to evaluate if you tick off those boxes:


You have a sense of urgency

You’re able to look at every task with a high level of importance, and you understand the severity of not taking your job seriously enough. The key is to remain confident, and to always be ready to spring into action quickly.

For example, as a paramedic, you may be responsible for navigating an ambulance through heavy traffic, which can be a major obstacle when a life is on the line. You’ll need to assert yourself on the road and get to your destination in the shortest amount of time possible. In many cases, a few minutes could be all of the difference.


You’re patient and calm under pressure

Having traits of urgency and patience may sound odd together, but in this case they go hand-in-hand. Patience is vital to doing your job accurately. You may be dealing with a very stressful situation, and you need to think rationally and pay attention to the facts.

When lives are at stake, people begin to panic – and often, you must be the calm in the centre of the storm. Be a problem-solver and always remain alert.

An example of this is being a 911 operator.  You’ll have distressed callers on the line and will need to be as patient as possible to manage these high-stress situations. This will help you to respond quickly and provide callers with the emergency support and attention they require.


You’re comfortable adopting different technologies

Technology can make our jobs significantly easier, but there can be an adjustment period while we need to learn how to use the technology in order to reap its benefits. Depending on the technology, it can be a great way to communicate messages quickly and efficiently – whether you are communicating with a person in need of help, or communicating with your team to get help for someone in distress. It can also help you to make processes and people safer.

Say you’re an air traffic controller. You’ll need to understand mapping to determine how far away planes are from each other and if there is risk of a collision. You will need to use high-tech communication tools to make sure air traffic is moving safely in the clouds. And as technology evolves, it’s crucial that you’re able to adapt and integrate new technology into your daily tasks quickly and seamlessly.


You have superb communication skills

Saving lives is not a one-person job – it takes an entire team to work quickly and efficiently. Don’t treat your job like a game of broken telephone, and work hard to get the message across clearly and quickly. Take pride in being part of a team that has a big impact on peoples’ lives. Be collaborative and always work towards your goals as a team.


You know how to multitask

Like any job, you might be faced with several tasks at once. Multitasking is something the majority of working professionals will need to master early on, but when you have peoples’ lives in your hands, multitasking is vital. For example, working as an ER doctor or nurse, you’ll likely be responsible for managing multiple patients at once. Staying organized and on top of your game is vital here, as peoples’ lives could be at stake.


You have a selfless attitude

This is a rare trait to find in someone, but those who have it are capable of accomplishing rewarding work on a daily basis. When working in a job that requires you to save or protect lives, you need to keep your problems at home – don’t bring them with you to work. Personal problems must take a backseat.  In some cases, you’ll need to potentially risk your life for a complete stranger, which is a selfless act. 

A firefighter, for instance, will risk their lives to save the lives of others. It takes a very selfless person to be this courageous every single day of their life when they leave their homes to go to work.


Ready, set, save lives!

If you’re looking for a job that has a purpose, and will always keep you on your toes, look no further than a job that helps save – or protect – lives. If you’re lucky enough to have the exceptional traits outlined above, consider your career options, and look into a job in emergency services, medicine, traffic control, security, and more.

For more tips about how to choose a career path that’s right for you, or for other public service jobs to consider, visit