~2 minute read.
Cam Asker is a 45 years old ICP (Intensive Care Paramedic) with Ambulance Victoria. He has been a Paramedic for 15 years. Cam is married with 2 children and enjoys surfing, travelling and the outdoors.
Join us as Cam shares his perspectives on courage.
How would you describe workplace courage?
Courage is attempting a task that you fear or that may simply make you feel uncomfortable. Courage wears many faces, things that might seem a simple task for some become huge hurdles for others.
What does courage look like in your workplace?
For me courage varies depending on my level of comfort and recent experiences at my workplace. If I have attended cases that have been relatively simple and gone to plan for a while I don’t find too many tasks courageous. But if I have been pushed out of my comfort zone by being confronted with some traumatic cases that test my critical decision making, I begin to question my own abilities to handle future cases. I think this comes from working in an unpredictable environment. Sometimes when confronted with high stress cases that test every skill you have learned over the years, just turning up to work the next shift seems courageous.
Please describe 1-2 examples in which you have been courageous? What did you do? Who/what enabled you to be courageous? What was the outcome?
I can’t think of a specific time of showing what I consider true courage; I don’t feel overly courageous doing my job most of the time. I look at police confronting an aggressive offender and think that’s courageous. I watch firemen enter a burning building and think that’s courageous. Occasionally I have a civilian come and observe me at work and they always say, ‘I could never do that.’
I agree that my job is not for everyone, but most of the time I feel I’m ‘just doing my job.’
Recently I was asked to have a camera crew come and follow me at work. I feared the thought of appearing on television, saying the wrong thing and making a mistake. I like to accept challenges that push me to confront and overcome fear. This I suppose was courageous to accept the challenge.
On a surf trip to Papua New Guinea I found myself confronted with bigger waves than I was used to surfing. This also pushed me out of my comfort zone. I felt so scared just taking off on some of them, so I guess this was my most recent experience of showing courage.
From your point of view, to what extent are Australia’s leaders leading with courage?
Of late, I feel the older I get the less faith I have in our political leaders. I feel it must be hard for them to stay true to their morals and beliefs in the face of public opinion. I’m sure most people have great intentions when entering politics, but too often all I see is childish bickering and very rare instances of true leadership.
When I google Australian leaders the images that are displayed are only politicians. It surprised me not to see images of academic leaders, scientists and some sporting greats. Turia Pitt and Mick Fanning are just two examples of Australian leaders that have shown amazing courage in different ways. These are people that define courage and leadership in my eyes. Both have shown amazing resilience and determination overcoming fears to continue following their dreams and passions. They have shared their traumatic experiences publicly for others to learn and gain strength from.
Jaime McCoy suggested that I get in touch with Cam and ask that he might share his views of courage as she thinks him to be “very courageous.” In many of my interviews, just as Cam has shared, people say “I’m just doing my job.” What I have learnt is that in sharing our stories, those who are listening are able to spot our courage, even when we think there is none. Know, that we all have courage within – which we can call upon when needed in future – we just need a light shone on it.