Initially, all I was looking for was something that would give us more flexibility in regards to our family. My wife and I both worked full-time and have a mortgage to pay. We discussed the option of one of us staying home. I will admit that I wanted to--intensely--but offered the option to my wife. She was not sure she wanted to leave the working world; she is far more skilled at navigating and succeeding there than I. She is a hardworking, capable, intelligent woman who has an excellent ability to problem solve. She also has a much better background for business life.
I still wanted to leave the door open to either of us, as opportunity arose, but after looking into our finances a bit, we determined that one of us not working was simply not feasible, at least not anytime soon. So other options needed to be considered.
My wife really liked her job, and I didn't want her to have to leave it, also my work situation was far from ideal at the time; so I went out to find some sort of occupation that would pay similarly to what I was currently making but give me more time at home.
Firefighting is something that had been coming up in my life over the last 15 years. Out of college, a friend of mine had suggested it as an option, when we were trying to figure out what to do with ourselves. I had looked into it then, but didn't feel capable of pursuing it due to some knee issues I was having. Within the last few years, I had a friend who was pursuing firefighting himself and often confided in me on his progress. So it wasn't strange that Firefighting came into my head as a possible choice.
My wife and I talked about it. It made similar enough income to what I currently made, and would allow me to be at home during daytime hours on a more consistent basis. Also, it really appealed to my sense of learning and adventure.
My wife was understandably hesitant. Firefighting is dangerous and we were about to have a family. After some more discussion, she decided that, if it were the Lord's will to get me this job, He would also protect me.
With that, I began doing in-depth research on what it would take to become a Illinois Firefighter.