Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Being a telecommunicator is very much like this comparison. Stepping into a 9-1-1 communication center – pulling up a chair to the console – you open the box to see what awaits on the other end of the phone or radio. The first call could be the dark chocolate fudge filled morsel of a dad announcing that his wife is in active labor delivering their third child. Talking him through the pre-arrival EMD instructions, hearing the first cry of the child fills, your soul fills with warmth.

Rejuvenated, you go in for more calls finding they are the same plain milk chocolate calls you have answered a thousand times; loud music, alarm call, barking dog. Routinely, you go about dropping these requests for service into CAD, knowing these will be closed out “music turned down, false alarm, and owner warned.”

Longing for an adrenaline pumping call, you answer the radio of the officers checking on scene to the alarm call. And boom there it is, the double chocolate raspberry truffle, “SHOTS FIRED! SHOTS FIRED!” Working through all the questions, Who fired? Was anyone hit? What is your current location? your mouth waters for more information. After the chaos settles, you learn there are no injuries, the suspect is in custody, and that was your last chocolate.

Your box, now empty, signals your shift is over. As a telecommunicator, you do not get to choose what chocolates you want. There is uncertainty with each call and radio transmission taken. To preserve your career, you must find sweetness and joy with each chocolate you are given.

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