I recently spent the day at the 911 Bell County Call Center, as I am going to start doing their psychological clearances. I wanted to gain a better understanding of what makes a good dispatcher, and honestly, I went in with some preconceived notions that turned out to be terribly wrong. I had met with the heads of the facility the week before, and was informed that most of the workers only had a high school education. I therefore incorrectly assumed that they would not be very smart. I actually dreaded having to spend any amount of time talking to people that I assumed would be so much less intelligent than myself. How arrogant of me.
As I walked into the center, I observed a room full of people who were absolutely diverse in terms of their physical attributes. I couldn't establish any patterns of similarities - men and women, some younger, older, larger, smaller, varying in race, style of dress. It was impossible to draw any conclusions about the traits they shared that landed them jobs there. I realized it was time to put my haughtiness aside and open my ears.
Wow. I have gained so much knowledge, awareness, and perspective. The people who work there are amazing at multitasking. Each managed at least three monitors with two computers boards and ran them with complete ease as calls spilled in. They stay absolutely level during each crisis, even when calls were overlapping and rapid decisions needed to be made. They truly put their heart into each and every call. And they not only care about their callers, they care about each other. They clearly took care of each other. Even though the nature of their job is heavy and daunting at times, humor was easily and readily welcomed and shared.
There was a sense of community that shrouded all the madness, chaos, and tragedy. I could feel the symbolic holding of hands that did not need verbal explanation. Despite their lack of formal education, they were as a whole way smarter and more savvy than I can ever imagine being. I was humbled and I grew.
I envisioned how wonderful it would be if more of us embraced these traits. I realized that the letters behind my name aren't worth anything if I myself didn't try to be more like that room full of selfless, caring people.