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A little nervous that I may be in over my head

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  • A little nervous that I may be in over my head

    I recently found that my local station is hiring some 20-30 recruits since a new station is being built. I sent in my resume and they sent me some papers back saying when all of the tests are and some other information about being a firefighter. I am excited to take the test, which is in October, but I am worried that even if I do well on the test, I will be disqualified for something later down the line.

    I am 21 and have a GED. I have been a security guard for the past 6 months. I have no certifications for anything related to the firefighter feild, but the packet of information does not say it is required, only required after hire and before my 1 year probationary period is over. Still, worried on that subject.

    I got into an accident a few years ago and did not have insurance at the time of the accident. I ended up with a $1000 ticket (fully paid now) and a threat from their insurance company to pay them $2000+ on damages. The accident was a "fender bender" and I did not think I was at fault and told them that. They told me that I was so I requested the report from the police station and it says it was a no fault accident due to extreme weather. I mailed that to them and circled that statement with a big red marker and never heard back from them again. I did however feel the wrath of my own mistake to be driving without insurance about 9 months later. I got pulled over for running a red light and come to find out that my license had been suspended for "failure to post security." The suspension was for 6 months and I only had one month left, so I was a little disheartened. They arrest me and I spend about an hour in a holding cell while they do the paperwork. They released me and I went to court about a month later. The public defender told me to ask the judge for a contiuance on my court case so I did. By this time my suspension was up and I obtained my driving license again by only paying a fee of $25. I went to the clerk of court and showed them my license and then they dropped my charge down to driving without a license rather than driving with a suspended license. I plead guilty and pay all of my fees and case closed.

    I also smoked marijuana when I was younger and don't know what to say to them if there is a polygraph test.

    Those are the things I am mainly worried about. I feel the fact that I have a GED is not a problem as they did post in their job listing that all they require is a high school diploma/GED equivilant. Now the only reason I dropped out of high school is because me and my now wife had a child at a very young age. We were both still in school and one of use needed to make cash so I volunteered to quit school and work to take care of my family. When I went to get my GED I didn't do any classes because my scores were so high on the pretest that they said I could opt out of them. I took the main tests and ended up with above average scores on all the tests and also my transcript reads "Completed program equal to the top 10% of traditional high school students."

    Am I chasing an unrealistic dream or is it just going to be hard? I don't mind it being hard to get hired, but if it is going to be impossible then what is the point?
    Last edited by servvs; 09-15-2010, 08:24 AM.

  • #2
    I'm not any more experienced in firefighting than you (ie NO experience) but I do know a thing or two about job hunting/interviews.

    First things first, if you're not sure if something would effect your eligibility ASK. Call the city's or fire deparment's HR department, explain your circumstances including length of time since the fine/arrest and ask if you would be disqualified. What will matter more is the charge you were convicted on not the original charge so driving without a license in posession would probably not disqualify you, it's the legal equivalent of "I forgot my wallet at home". In most states driving without insurance is a misdemeanor and not a moving violation so you've got a good chance of that not hurting you too.

    One thing I can tell you for sure about all of that is BE HONEST. If you are asked if you ever did drugs tell them the truth (I did it x number of years ago, it was a mistake and I haven't touched it in X years.) especially for Marijuana there's a reasonbly good chance the guys interviewing you did it too at least a time or two when they were younger so they'd understand. It's not a certainty but it's possible.

    Most applications I've ever filled out do not ask "Have you ever done drugs" but instead will ask "Do you use illegal or illicit drugs". As long as you have no recent history of drug use the honest answer to that is no. Don't hide or lie about anything but you also don't have to tell them everything you've ever done that you're not proud of if they don't ask about it.

    Regarding the driving history, again BE HONEST. Explain the circumstances. I've made the same mistake of driving without insurance, but it was before my state had a law mandating it. You have not had an AT FAULT accident which will make a difference. I'm sure they will consider the length of time since the incident occurred.

    If this is something you want, go after it. In the end all this hemming and hawing will not get you anything. If you try and find out you're disqualified for some reason, you tried, no one can say you didn't have the guts to at least try. If you DON'T try you'll always sit around wondering "I wonder what would have happened if I tried."

    You really don't have anything to lose by giving it a shot.


    • #3
      1. look at the annoucement for each city you apply for
      a. see what the requirements are
      b. see what crimminal history, and traffic stuff that disqaulifies you

      2. if you meet the base requirements apply

      3. so not lie on the application, and possibly enlcose a letter of explantion of the incidents.

      is there someone cleaner then you, YES, will they gert hired over you do not know

      if you do not apply you will never know


      • #4
        Thanks for the input guys. I have already decided that even if I do make it all the way through the testing only to find out that I can't be a firefighter right now, then at least I tried and completed the testing phase. It will give me peace of mind and I will be that much more prepared the next time I apply for the position. I have been trying to give up smoking cigarettes and also got a membership at a gym to build my uper body strength and endurance. I have been studying my math, reading, and other random comprehension things that will help me excel in the written exam as well. I have already started to prepare my interview answers for the questions that I know will be asked and I will also be going over my speech cababilities that way I do not sound like a half-retarded donkey as I mutter my way through the interview. Again, thanks and wish me luck


        • #5
          As far as the polygraph...most of the time it is setup so you can pass it as long as you are honest when you fill out the pre-polygraph questionnaire.

          For example...you will be asked about drug use in the questionnaire...what have you used, how often, last time. So say you smoked marijuana 10 times last time being 3 years ago...the polygraph examiner will then word his question to you something like "have you used marijuana within the last three years?" to which you can honestly answer no.


          • #6
            I am excited to take the test, which is in October, but I am worried that even if I do well on the test, I will be disqualified for something later down the line.
            don't count yourself out usomeone else 'officially' does.... keep your head forward and stay positive. there will be cleaner people and people with worse histories. call down there, ask if they have a suggested study guide and do what you can. get some books if you want that will help you oral questions or test taking. lastly, if you're really that worried, you can contact the chief and discuss your history a little and explain your situation; you may very well be rewarded for your upfront honesty. i go by the policy, do not lie but do not go out of my way to disqualify myself.


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