Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Continuing Chronicles of the FNG(irl): The Interview

Today I'm revisiting part of my initiation into the fire service -- the interview. My purpose is to share my experience being inducted into the fire service, which began exactly one year ago yesterday.

Tell you what, I'll save all of you the trouble and say it myself....

I'm a jackass.

There. Everyone happy?

I spent the better part of the day yesterday semi-obsessing, stressing and second-guessing about my fire department interview. I changed clothes twice after work (I didn't want to come across as too business-like, but I didn't want to be sloppy or look too girly) and spent ten minutes alternately putting my hair up and then taking it back down again (who does this??? Oh.... only me???) and then took the short walk down the street to the station.

I had spent some time thinking about how I wanted to respond to what I thought would be a variety of questions, and while I wasn't rehearsing my answers, I had certainly dedicated a good chunk of time thinking about what I wanted to say and how I wanted to portray myself and how best to be true to myself and not sound like a moron.

I met with two of the past chiefs, and they conducted my interview in the apparatus bay, leaning up against the rig. I thought it was a bit unconventional, but it actually served to put me at ease.

After we completed all of my paperwork and talked about the whole "what happens after you're voted on" and what to expect in terms of time commitment, not only for FF1 class, but also time for drills, community events and responding, I heard a little history about the department....and then my interviewers took deep breaths and I thought to it comes.....the big important questions...

Well, no.....not exactly; here's how it really went down... (Past Chief #1) "So, do you have any questions for us? (Me) "I think you covered all the basics, will they be voting on me tonight?" (Past Chief#2) "Yup, the business meeting starts in about half an hour and we'll vote on you then, then you'll get a letter from the secretary telling you when and where you should report for your physical" (Me) "Would you like me to talk about my background and why I'm here?" (Past Chief #2) "Nah, I think we got enough to present to the membership....basically, as long as you're not the village idiot, you're most likely voted in, and you don't seem like the village idiot".

And THAT was my interview. I'm feeling sheepish for all the hours I spent fretting, and the mental gymnastics, and the response inventory rehearsals, and the outfit changes, and the hair nonsense....but I also know in my gut that if I had sashayed in there with NO preparation, the interview would have rivalled the Spanish Inquisition ("No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!"--a little Pythonesque humor), because that's just the funny way that life works.

So now I can start stalking the mailman and wearing a groove in the pavement in front of the mailbox.

On a positive note, I lost three pounds stressing over the whole thing.

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  1. welcome to the club: your thoughts on the interview gave me a stitch...laughing...cause you prep'd and were keen..the chiefs knew what you had are known by who you are to your community...and well.... female or male..your a live warm body to fill the gap by others....congrats on the keep your headspace and health up to stress issues...and yes you will loose about 3 - 5 lbs per heavy fire or rescue call get used to it kid...and for heavens sake learn from the old wise ass comments...keep your trap shut and your ears open and buddy up...leave the sexual politics out of any work you do reference gender and do your job...that is all the team could ask of you. You have crossed the barrier that many other women in the fire service have crossed and now you are a part of something far greater than you could have imagined...check out the web site titled: women in the fire service...get connected stay connected...good about sumthing to eat to get your weight back up...Hauling your butt around the fire ground means you need calories and weight so off you go...good job...
    stay safe...and remember to pray when the darkness of a bad call hits you...your not alone....

  2. As always Mel a great read. This brings me back to my first inquiry into joining years ago.


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