My name is Mary Ellen. Those that know me fairly well call me Mel. The short story behind my nickname is that I used to cook professionally at one point in my life (among other occupations) and had a nasty habit of burning the bacon I was charged with cooking off on a weekly basis. As this was becoming an expensive habit, the chef in charge of the kitchen decided he needed to shorten my name; the thought process was that he had at least a shot at saving a couple of trays of porcine fatback if he used a shortened version of my name to screech at me that the convection oven was on fire....again.
I'm the state-wide training coordinator for the Firemen's Association of the State of New York (FASNY) and I spend approximately 50% of my time criss-crossing NYS running firefighter and EMS training seminars in hundreds of fire departments in every county. The other 50% of my professional time is spent setting up the logistics and ancillary details surrounding the seminars, and then reconciling the classes in terms of the financials and certification. I like my job, I LOVE being out on the road with the classes, meeting FASNY members and listening to the "war stories" and talking about issues facing the volunteer fire service.
I decided not too long ago that instead of talking about firefighter safety all the time, I'd practice firefighter safety and finally get off my rear and join.
So I walked the quarter mile down the road to my local fire department, talked to the chief, filed an application, and next up? (cue the Phantom of the Opera music)..."The Interview". As in tomorrow night, as in I'm sweating bullets, as in my type-A personality brain is actively attempting to second guess how the process is going to go. In general, when I obsess about something, the reality tends to be one million times better than my overactive imagination has portrayed. Take a peek inside my cranium...'What if they don't like me?" "What if they ask me something that I don't know, but should?" "What if they think I'm some weak girl and can't do the job?" ---the list of questions racing around my medulla oblongata is ENDLESS.
I know the following: I want this, I'm ready for this, and I'm physically and mentally prepared for this. I haven't been this excited about ANYTHING in a long, long time. I can't wait to start training, and my most fervent hope is that a.) I don't do TOO many stupid things and that b.) I don't do something so stupid that someone else gets hurt as a result.
My game plan? thanks to some sage advice from a friend...Shut up, listen,don't take any crap, train hard, stay safe, and try not to make too big a fool of myself (I'm a little klutzy).
Stay tuned...I'll be back with the results of my interview.
The Exit Row
3 weeks ago