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I submitted my application to become a 911 call-taker/dispatcher in a local city.  This has been brewing for about a year now, and I got the notice last week that they are hiring.  So I am going to “go for it.”

As I said, it started about a year ago.  My oldest daughter was home from college for the summer, and she had just completed clearing out the garage.  And thank goodness … it had been a year since my husband passed away, and I had not been able to clean out the garage.  Heck, I had barely been able to set foot in the garage unless it was necessary.  That had been “his domain” – his refuge, where he retreated at the end of the day to tinker with things, drink beer and listen to his blues music – or maybe a little classic country.  It had been too hard for me to clear out, I realized – so I turned her loose on that project.  She went to work with gusto, and by the end of the day had everything organized and cleaned.

Anyway … we stood in that cleaned out garage and talked.  About school, about jobs, etc.  And she asked me if I intended to continue working on grandma and grandpa’s farm, or if there wasn’t another job I wanted to try.  Something else that might be more challenging.  My first thought?  “What could be more challenging than working alongside your parents?!”

But it was an honest question, and I started thinking.  I was so blessed to have a close family, and have the security of a job where I could set my own hours (within reason) and still have a paycheck and insurance.  That had been a necessity after my husband was diagnosed, and in the year following while he fought the brain tumor.  I say “the” brain tumor and not “his” brain tumor because it affected the entire family, and not just him.  We all say it as a common enemy, and tried to help him fight as best we could.

But was I just taking the easy, secure road by staying on the farm?  I didn’t feel like I was being challenged, and I really didn’t feel like I had much to offer the farm.  My college degree was in communications, and that wasn’t as necessary to the daily running of the farm as I had once hoped.  Maybe it was time to think about moving into a different line of work.

She told me about her friend’s mother who was a 911 dispatcher in a different county.  It sounded exciting, and kinda scary … but something that would be right up my alley.  And after what we had been through with the cancer, not much scared me anymore.

So I started investigating.  I contacted the closest 911 communication center to see when they were hiring.  They weren’t at that time, but they invited me in for a “sit-along.”  Yeah, police and firefighters have “ride-alongs” for those interested in learning more about their professions – dispatchers have “sit-alongs.”  🙂

So I went and spent two hours alongside the call-takers and dispatchers one Friday afternoon last summer.  I got to listen in on both emergency and non-emergency calls, and learn more about how police and fire units are dispatched.  This particular center dispatches for a whopping 29 police, fire and medical agencies (at the time I visited, they only dispatched for about 17), both here in the valley and on the coast.  It was amazing and didn’t intimidate me at all.  In fact, I went right over to my sister’s house and debriefed her and her husband, who is a firefighter/paramedic in the city in which I hope to be dispatching.

So I have been waiting for a year now, every few months sending in a short email to inquire of the training officer if they are hiring yet.  And the day has come … the application deadline is today!

So two days ago I took my typing test and forwarded the results along with my application.  I shouldn’t have to wait long, I guess.  The next phase of testing is set for next Wednesday, and unless I really blow it big time on the application – I should be included in that phase.  After that its more testing and background investigations and interviews.  The tentative date for the hiring list is October 21st.  Wish me luck!  🙂

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