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
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
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.