I now have cable.

Since I landed my job, I've noticed that more and more days pass without vallies. How cool is that?

It took me forever to write this entry. What have I not listened to?

20oz Coca-Cola.

I have to be up in mere hours, but I'm happy that I've got an entry penned. Maybe the journal isn't dead afterall.

07 August 2001
No entry.

07 August 2000
Missing friends.


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Quote du jour:
"If a man will begin in certainties he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin in doubts he shall end in certainties." (Sir Francis Bacon)

If I was going to leave you guys with some parting words before bailing for a two months, I guess I would be hard-pressed to pick any better than those in my June 11th entry. I'm blessed.

In my six weeks or so on the job, I've started to have a feeling that is quite foreign to me -- the feeling that I'm finally in the right place. Suddenly, I don't find myself thinking "what's next?" so often. I find myself thinking about a future -- a long-term future -- in Lakeland.

Of course, because I tend to contemplate the worst case scenario, the feeling of belonging here has me occasionally thinking of the things that could wrong... the things that could take me away from this place. I'm not sure that such thoughts are neccesarily a bad thing. Hopefully, I'll be able to eliminate any reasons to leave as I encounter them and can allow another strange feeling -- contentment -- to grow.

While these new and happy feelings would be welcomed regardless of circumstance, I consider myself especially fortunate for them now. Many things had to fall into place for me to be where I am today. In the midst of the Great Job Hunt, uncertainly and worry enveloped my being. I wa a nervous wreck. Yet I prayed that I would land where I needed to be... and the Lord answered those prayers.

In the beginning, this job was filled long before I knew it exsisted. The city hired a fellow from the then-active civil service list and that was that. Until, of course, the guy unexpectedly quit. After his departure, a new civil service list had to be compiled and so ads were placed in newspapers announcing the upcoming civil service test.

My mother isn't a big reader of the classifieds but as she read her paper during breakfast one morning, one particular ad caught her eye. She e-mailed me the details of the Lakeland job included in the ad and I began the process to secure an application before the deadline.

I believe I received her e-mail on a Monday afternoon and the application deadline was at the close of business that Wednesday. I spent the Tuesday trying to call a personel director that was (unbeknowst to me) out of town all day to see if he could fax an application packet to me. I was unable to reach him and briefly entertained the idea of driving up and applying in person. For some reason, I dismissed that idea. A little voice in my head told me not to bother. Thank God I didn't get the chance to listen to that voice.

The ringing of my cell phone woke me up that Wednesday morning. When I answered, it was Lakeland's personnel guy on the other end. He faxed me an application, I faxed it back and we were in business.

I picked up a couple of test preperation books at Books-A-Million the week prior to the civil service test. However, I had a few college tests to worry about that week, too... So the prep stuff sat mostly unused until the car ride up to Lakeland the night befor the civil service test. I took one practice test, did well and considered myself ready.

The civil service test itself was fairly easy. Of course, I think I had an advantage over some of the others because I was in college. Test taking was no big deal for me and so I could better focus on the task at hand. Of course, that could just be a pile of bullshit. Maybe I got lucky. I could have just guessed well. The important fact is that I made a near-perfect score and finished in the top three.

I was summoned up to Lakeland for an interview with the fire chief. The interview was cut short because of a fire and so I wasn't able to get a good read on how successful the meeting was. I felt good about it, though.

After the interview, I was supposed to get a decision within 48 hours but delays on Lakeland's end put off the news for almost a week. Entirely too much of this time was spent worrying. I can't tell you how better my body feels physically now compared to how it did then. If I'd been left to worry much longer, I'm convinced that I could have made myself sick.

While Lakeland was making a decision, I interviewed for a second firefighting position and was offered the job as the first choice. I called Lakeland and explained my situation. I told the chief point blank that I wanted to work for him. He offered me the job. I turned down the other department.

In the days since my hiring, I've learned that I wasn't the top pick at Lakeland. The first choice decided against taking the job for personal reasons. I've decided that the delays in tendering the offer to me were probably due to Lakeland waiting around for the first pick to decide. But none of that matters now. I'm here. It's happened. It's all fallen into place. And it's all evidence of a bigger plan and of how connected we all are.

I've never believed that things just happen for no reason at all and I think that now I've go the proof.

Yeach, I know that some of the above was included in my Great Job Hunt entry back in June... But did you se that thing? It was long and boring and read like stereo instructions. Besides, none of that matters right now. There were three job offers and I took what I believe to be the right one. The Cliffs Notes version of the "right one" appears above. That's all we need to know for now. There's no need to dwell about the past in an entry no one wants to read. It's time to move on.

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