Thursday, April 20, 2006

Can we say INTENSE??

Well. I had my board this morning at 0930 sharp.

I woke up this morning at 0450. I rolled over and waited for the alarm. I opened my eyes to check the time and it was 0458. My brain was still fuzzy and I felt like something was out of was then I noticed that the alarm didn't set the night before. I have a digital clock and it has been acting weird in sometimes the alarm won't engage. I distinctly remembered setting the alarm the night before so the alarm clock is now officially declared broken! I silently thanked God for waking me up in time.

I trotted to the bathroom and ran a shower. I shaved my legs, soaped, shampooed and quickly got out to dry myself. I had set out my uniform the night before so I wouldn't disturb my husband. I dried my hair and applied my make-up. It went on GREAT and I had a great, minimal flawless look. Guys, you won't appreciate that tidbit, but make-up doesn't always go on nicely. Sometimes you end up looking like a clown in a circus! Usually this occurs when you REALLY need to look great. :-) But this morning I was relieved to see it looked good ...and natural (very important). My face was not puffy and no bags under my eyes, God was being VERY good to me!

I fixed my hair in a neat bun on the nape of my neck. I pinned it all in place and sprayed it so hurricane winds wouldn't move it. It needed to look put together and professional. It did. I have finished reading a book recently called "The Alchemist" (a must read) and in it a shepherd makes a journey of a lifetime to fulfill his purpose in life. A wise prophet tells him that all the universe and God conspires to help the person seeking to fulfill their destiny. I felt some of that this morning.

I left very early because Atlanta traffic can be pretty bad. It was somewhat heavy this morning but I made it there by 0810. I reported to the office arranging the board and they directed me to the conference room where the board would be held. Since I had a lot of time to kill I went outside and practiced my presentation. I kept getting hung up on the next to the last section. I kept going over it in my mind, speaking it out loud and rehearsing it over and over, but I still had a hesitation. See, I was supposed to be able to rehearse my presentation without looking at the projection screen. It was now 0855. Well, I might as well give it a rest; I am as ready as I'll ever be.

I went in and located the conference room. Two other soldiers were waiting outside in the hall. We all introduced ourselves. We traded nervous jokes, compared notes and gave encouragement to each other. You know, you never meet a stranger in the Service. You just don't.

SGT Harris had his appointment set for 0900. At 0900 sharp they called him in. It took him about 15 minutes and he was done. He came out breathed a heavy sigh of relief and shook his head with a short laugh. "Glad that's over!" We chuckled nervously in response. He said "I can't tell you anything. But.... be prepared to sell a pencil." He smiled waved and left the building.

My appointment was next. I paced the hall kept thinking of my presentation, kept stumbling over it in my mind. I finally shook my head, told myself to relax. I sent up a silent prayer that the Good Lord would see his way clear to help me see it through. My palms were getting a little sweaty. I rechecked my uniform, stood at attention and knocked on the door...


I walked in, made a right face, saluted and said "SGT Fields reporting as ordered, sir!" HUH?? WHAT THE ...WAS THAT??? I was SUPPOSED to say "SGT Fields reporting to the President of the board as directed"!!! Oh well, he seemed to not mind the mistake as he asked me to take a seat. He introduced me to each member of the board. Four members in all. He mentioned the other eight or so E-8's and E-9's in the room as "Observers and not voting board members". He went through what was expected and asked me a few questions then said I could begin my presentation.

Heavy pressure as I realized the room is filled with senior NCO's that have many many years of experience. I was getting sweaty but I ignored it.

I sailed through my presentation; I was under the gun and was able to maintain my composure. I looked each board member in the eye, spoke clearly and loudly and didn't say "um" and "uh" too much. Then I got to the next to the last section and I was almost ALL the way through it..the LAST bullet to cover and .... I froze.

I stood there frozen. It felt like a zillion minutes. My mind was completely blank. So I stood there, kept smiling, closed my eyes and relaxed. BAM, there it was in my mind. I recovered and ended the presentation. Nice save.

The President of the Board (a Sergeant Major) said "Very impressive presentation SGT Fields". Whew. I was asked to be seated and was run through a gamut of questions. Some really tough questions. One of the senior "observing" NCO's kept nodding his head vigorously with each of my answers. Most of the board members would nod their ascent as well. This was encouraging. Then, finally, I was asked to sell them a pencil. It was so lame. I tried but I sounded like a commercial..... a really bad late night commercial. They weren't too impressed.

I was dismissed and I went outside in the hall. The female soldier coordinating the event followed me out to hand me my CD with the presentation on it. She gave me a sideways hug and told me not to worry and that I did well. I guess she could see how nervous I was and how painful the "brain freeze" was for me! I felt good though! I felt very confident.

I got a call telling me that, indeed, I *had* made an impression and although there is no official news looks VERY good! YIPPEE!

Now to dye those new white hairs I've suddenly sprouted...


Blogger Pogue said...

Good on you!

Thursday, April 20, 2006 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger SGT Lori said...

Thanks Pogue!!

Saturday, April 22, 2006 7:03:00 AM  
Blogger ChargeOfQuarters said...

Great job!!

I remember my E-5 promotion board. I studied forever and after having 6 E-8s and 1 E-9 look over your uniform by leaning as far over a table as humanly possible, the questions were very easy. I socred a 195 (the highest in my unit in over three years, until two of my friends got perfect 200s - the mark of a great NCO who taught us), and was extremely proud.

I know you did well; feel good about it, as you should!

Monday, April 24, 2006 11:57:00 AM  

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