You’re Almost There…

I recently responded to a post on one of the forums by a young man who was completely frustrated and ready to give up.  Like many, he’d worked hard at getting the job and hadn’t had any success.  On top of this, he had a family member that was nearing the end of their life.  He was in a quandary and needed a bit of a pick up.
I felt like a part of my story would help what seemed like a good guy pick himself up, dust himself off, and keep going. The career is worth it, and I’d been in a very similar place when I was testing…I knew how he felt.
If you’re in that same place…This one’s for you, too:
My story:
BA in Public Administration
Bilingual in Spanish/English
EMT/EMTP-working in both.
COULD NOT SEEM TO GET THE JOB for years…So discouraged. At about 4 years after starting, even my mom was saying, “Hey, you’ve done alot of great stuff! Just move on and do something else. Its nothing to be ashamed of if you don’t get the job…”
I almost started to believe I couldn’t do it…
I was driving one day from work as a medic in SF to see a girl I was dating in the south bay and thinking about what I was going to try to do with my life if I didn’t get the badge. I get a page from a friend who was crashing at my place in SF to save money that says I needed to call him immediately, “EMERGENCY”. I wonder what the hell happened and find a place off the 280 to call him. I call and don’t even get the first word finished before he yells, “Dude! I just got a call. This lady asks for you and I say i’m you because i’ve got this feeling that its important. She says she’s from the City of Las Vegas and is calling to offer me the position of firefighter for the City! I’m so excited and tell her ‘YES!’…She laughs because i’m so fired up and gives me all the information for when to start. I’m so into it, I hang up and can’t believe I just got the job!…and then I go ****, the job’s for Paul…I gotta get ahold of him NOW!”
I’m standing at a payphone off this crazy exit with my crazy friend who just impersonated me to make sure I got the job and everything I’d worked for, suffered for, and dreamed of…was finally coming true. Every doubt, every question like, “Why would you put yourself through this?” (my dad’s btw.), everything in one moment had become worth it…(Crazy Bill got picked up within a year in the Bay Area. I married the girl. I’ve worked for the department for 12 years now. Life is good.)
The difference between those who do and those who don’t:
1. The do’s are better testers. Become a better fire department test taker! It took me FOREVER to figure this out. Once I learned how to do it CORRECTLY, I started to go very deep in the process and getting the kinds of responses I was hoping for. It was a short trip from there to the badge. Get the oral board courses from people like Capt. Bob and Chief Lepore, and if your don’t see any improvement, get some coaching. Practice. Practice. Practice.
2. Don’t quit. I understand wanting to make your dad proud…and your sense of urgency due to his illness. I can say from personal experience, that the pride your father has for you and the happiness you give him will only grow if you keep not taking “no” for an answer and improving yourself.
Finally, I’ve  heard all of the reasons for people not getting hired…Unfair process, testing process not really made for hiring the most qualified, hiring of specific ethnicities or sexes, all of it… Try to remember that if the world was fair and perfect, it wouldn’t need people like us.
Go do it, man. Don’t give up. You’re almost there. You just don’t see it yet through the fog of frustration.
<em>The same goes for all of you out there who are still working at it!</em><strong>
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2 Responses

  1. Paul Card Says:
    January 7th, 2011 at 7:15 AM

    @ Ian- If the profession moves you. If it sometimes keeps you awake at night because you want to be doing it so bad…Don’t ever quit. You’ll get there. I’ve got a gift for you soon.

  2. Paul Card Says:
    March 16th, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    Hi Adam-

    I’m so glad the article is helpful to you! I can’t stress enough how important it is to become a fire entrance exam test taker. Check out my “The First Five Things You Should Do…” article for more on the subject.

    Best Regards,