Listen. I’m almost entirely self-taught when it comes to computer stuff. I know how to use Microsoft Word, more or less. Sometimes much less.
For the purpose of context, let me mention a few things.
- Today was my mom’s 75th birthday. We went to Blaze Pizza for lunch and then to Baskin Robbins for her freebie birthday scoop. I had a very busy birthday-related day.
- Today I had a polygraph test scheduled. It was the next step in my quest to become a Public Safety Dispatcher in a nearby city. I applied on December 11 for this job and I’m nearing the end of the process (I hope, please God, let it be).
- I’m also in the application process to become a dispatcher for the Sheriff’s Department. I’m currently filling out a very long and detailed questionnaire about my background. It’s due tomorrow.
- The polygraph test took a full two and a half hours. I thought I’d be out of there in an hour. No. I didn’t get home–with dinner–until about 7:15 PM.
After frosting the chocolate cake I baked this morning and finishing dinner, it was about 8 PM and I still had to finish up the questionnaire. Mainly, I had to figure out to print out mailing labels that included all the addresses I had to include in the questionnaire.
There were less than fifty addresses and I was instructed to have them print “going down the column, not across.”
Before I could even get to that point, I had to create the list of addresses and then figure out how to “mail merge” them into the correct form so I could print them on the labels provided. This entire process took me almost three hours. And I never did figure out how to print them “going down” and not across.
Merging is hard, you guys!
So, my half-hearted labels will have to be good enough. I doubt they’ll actually get to the point of sending out reference forms anyway since (please God, let it be) I will get the other job first. The Sheriff’s Department is about a month behind the city.
Have you ever had a polygraph test? It was more stressful than I anticipated.
First, the examiner sat and talked with me for awhile. He asked me to tell him about myself. Then we went over a lot of the answers I had already disclosed in the course of my application process. We may have gone over everything, actually. It all blurs together.
After an hour and a half, we took a break and then I realized that my armpits were sweaty. And that was before I was hooked up for the actual test.
Then he explained how the polygraph test would go.
I was told to sit very still. Monitors clipped onto two fingers. Straps went around my body, under my armpits and around my stomach. A blood pressure cuff was fastened around my calf.
Then he told me what questions I’d be asked. He told me to lie to two particular questions (in each of the four blocks of questions). Then he asked questions and I had to answer “yes” or “no” without moving. Each block of questions took about five minutes.
Honestly, while you are being asked questions, your mind starts to wander and turn your answers over in your mind during the thirty silent seconds between questions. You start to wonder things like, “What if it looks like I’m lying even though I’m telling the truth?” and you think, “Do courts accept lie detector tests as evidence?” and, really, it’s just stressful even if you are telling the absolute truth.
I thought about how much this test was like some monitoring I had done for a research study I was involved in. I thought how much the chair looked like an electric chair. I felt sleepy, like I was being hypnotized because I was practicing slow breathing techniques to stay calm.
But he said my preliminary results looked good–no guarantees, he said–and that I could tell the investigator that I’m ready to move to the next step.
Tomorrow, I get fingerprinted for a LiveScan test.
Then I call the detective from the Sheriff’s Department to tell him the background packet has been completed.
This limbo between jobs is its own unique kind of stress. I’m really ready for my future to solidify. Not knowing exactly when and where and how and who and what makes me uneasy.