Friday, December 11, 2009

The Oral Board

Well, the second oral board examination of my career is in the bag.

I started the day with many concerns, not least of which was the ICK I have been fighting for the last week and how it might prevent me from thinking and responding clearly to the board's questions. I felt like anyone who is rung from a cold medication-induced slumber by the alarm. Clogged nostrils took some time to clear, my brain even longer. I flogged ny brain to figure out where I was, let alone what I was doing there. When I recalled I was sleeping apart in a belated attempt to avoid infecting everyone, I cursed my luck and lamented the fact that I was not healthy for the exam.

I dragged myself through my morning routine, eventually getting on the road.

Being one who has a desperate desire to never appear late to any function, I showed up two hours early. The group that was to take the exam before me went up to perform for their individual interrogators.

A few minutes later a woman who works for the county Department of Human Resources came down and asked me if I was there to take the exam. I nodded, to which she asked if I wanted to take it early.

"Sure," I replied.

I won't bore you all with the rigamarole we had to go through, but suffice to say we are read the riot act and some additional information, and then have to sign away our rights with regard to talking about he test during the testing phases ("First rule of Fight Club" and all that.) Then we get a packet that includes a fictitious officer's background and a report completed by the officer in question. There are glaring deficiencies in the report and additional ones in the officer's performance and background. We are then given a half hour to write out and plan a strategy to answer the eight questions of the board. We don't know the questions, though my study partner and I had a pretty good idea what they would be.

Well now, those of you who have slavishly read this blog will know that I had some friends over to help me with a mock board. The board was very useful in making sure we shored up our weak points and were aware of what we needed to work on. In keeping with the theory that one must train how one works, the mock board had given us sample fictitous officer's backgrounds and a report.

Long story short, my fictitious officer for the board and the one from my mock board were the exact same fucking guy! I had to bite my lip to keep from swearing at my good fortune when I read the officer's background! It was a tremendous boost to my confidence going in, knowing that I had already answered and been critiqued by some pretty impressive minds on what I should do with regard to this officer's performance.

So, I cranked out my notes and spent the half hour making sure I got everything necessary ready.

Then I go before the board, which ends up being an older white southern gentleman and an african american fellow perhaps a few years older than I.

I actually got both to smile and nod at the appropriate points in my disertation and responses to their questions. When not smiling and nodding at me, they spent the entire twenty-two minutes I hoarsely communicated my strategy for improving officer Kirkland's performance either scribbling rapidly or checking off boxes.

Long story short: I did the very best I possibly could. Now it's just a matter of whether they were as easy to please for the others they assessed (The dreaded curve) or I was sufficiently good on the day to get a stand-out score.

Again, thanks to my friends, I actually gave a hugely better impression than I would have otherwise.

I am insanely lucky in my friends.

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