And finally, I'm done. Months of studying late into the night, way past my bed time.
Months reading acronyms that seemed to be a language all their own. Months of practicing skills now rooted in my mind ready to activate at a moment’s notice. After all that, I have completed the promotional process. All that I wait for now is the phone call that decides where I go from here.
One part my departments process is an interview. In preparing for interview, I put together a curriculum vitae. "What's that?" is what I asked the person who recommended it. He went on to explain that it is what a person has done throughout his or her career. It's more complete than a resume. Think of it as doing a patient assessment that allows you to get an ideal of how the person is doing. It was in that process of pouring into Microsoft Word the experiences that I had, that the full impact of what other people poured into me sunk in. I have had the chance to be a part of things in my department, in the state, and nationally. No matter how well I did at any of those, I realize how much support I have gotten from others. The mentors and supporters in my life had given me S.O.G.'s to have an impactful life.
What trying times have you had in your life? Are you there right now? Whether the trouble happened to you, or because of you, we all have trying times. To this day supporters and mentors still help me to persevere through difficult times. In those dark times, not only could I not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I felt myself walking through knee deep quicksand that I was sinking in. It was the strength that others poured into me that allowed me to see things to completion.
Have you ever been in an awesome situation and say to yourself "How on earth did I get here?!" You weren't the typical number one choice to be in that project or on that team. Yet, you did great work while there. That's what happens when others see your potential, and give you a seat at the table. That is what happens when your supporters and mentors give you an opportunity.
"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" (Will Rodgers). I looked at this training announcement that said "Safety through Leadership". I am constantly looking for leadership training, but I had doubts about this one. Yet, at the encouragement of one of my many supporters, I applied for it all the same. Since then, the 2007 Virginia Fire Officer's Academy has been one of the best choices I have done in my career. Supporters and mentors provide direction for you to move on down the track.
I have no idea how much success I will have in my life. I'm sure it will be due, in large part, to the mentors and supporters that help me along the way. People who have given me S.O.G.'s. My success comes from people seeing in me what I was unaware of in myself. For as ordinary as I feel most days, my supporters and mentors have a way of finding the extraordinary.
About the Author
NICK BASKERVILLE has had the honor of serving in the United States Air Force for 10 years, followed by 4 years in the United States Air Force Reserves. He attained the rank of Technical Sergeant (E-6). Nick also has 16 years of fire service time, with 13 years of that being in a career department in Northern Virginia. Nick has had the opportunity to hold positions in the Company Officer's section of the Virginia Fire Chief's Association (VFCA), The Virginia Fire Officer's Academy (VFOA) staff, and in the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF) as a chapter president, a Health and Wellness committee member, and one of the IABPFF representatives to the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance.