Crossing the Bridges

Part of the work we do in preparing recruits for the firefighter testing process involves fielding phone calls. We get many, many phone calls. Some of these calls are from folks who want help with the Oral portion of a test. First, I ask the date of the Oral. The usual response is that the Oral has not been scheduled yet. They have just put in the application.

For those of us training others, having more time to help our trainees is a good thing. We’ve been trying to get people to reach out to while they still have plenty of time to schedule, practice, refine, and memorize their presentations. After all, practice makes perfect.

But having extra time does not solve help overcome all of the obstacles.

Recently, I asked firefighter recruits if their written was weighted. One said yes. Two didn’t know. In all three, they had a written test that would count in their final score and affect their placement on the list. None of these guys had been working on their written. “I’ve passed every written I’ve taken”, one guy said.  I asked him if he had gotten a 100%. The answer was no. He better start studying. Think of the increased pressure you would have if you were going into your next interview and knew you were already 10 or 15 points behind the competition.

Let’s relate this to football. The quarterback throws a perfect bullet to the tight end. But before the catcher has caught the ball, he is looking to see where he is going to run.  You know what happens. By getting ahead of himself the ball is dropped and the play is dead.

When you set your eyes on the prize – and, by the prize, we mean the firefighter’s badge, be sure you are not getting ahead of yourself. Focus on the task at hand. Don’t worry about the Chief’s Oral, before you have your application and resume in order. Yes, planning is a good thing and I encourage people to start on their oral presentation work a month before their test, but you do have to pass the written first. There is a saying – Plan your work and work your plan. We fully agree.

Captain Bob