Thursday, October 21, 2004

Feeling Smart Today

Ok, I had to do it. I actually forced myself to take one of those cheesy IQ tests that are relentlessly advertised on numerous commercial web sites. Shame on me. In my defense, it was a slow afternoon and I was waiting for one of my DB processes to crawl to completion.

I have avoided this for years. This is mostly because of my lifelong fear of the "P" word. You know, "potential." The word parents use when trying to understand how on earth such an intelligent kid can fail to find a simple thing like a classroom for weeks on end.

Toward the end of my dubious high school career I remember taking a battery of tests, some of which were ostensibly to provide us near-graduates with "career guidance." I can't tell you how many of those tests I took over the course of my schooling, only to have the computer spit out that I was best suited for "Physical Therapist." Huh? Didn't I say on those tests that I hate people? Didn't I indicate that I hate exercise even more? How does that make me a good Physical Therapist (these careers were always capitalized)? I strongly suspect that the Dilbert Principle, wherein morons are promoted to remove them from the productive flow, began with those tests.

At some point, in discussion with a Guidance Counselor, I was shown my then-IQ score. I believe it was 122. This, according to at least one web site, would have classified me with: School Teachers; Pharmacists; Accountants; Nurses; Stenographers; or Managers. No sign of Physical Therapy, hm?

The funny thing is, even when I was doing my level best to ruin my academic career, I knew deep down that I was smart. I also knew that I was scared to death to be smart. Smart people are supposed to be ambitious, after all; to live up to their potential. This was anaethema to an under-achiever like me.

Now the years roll by, and I have long since understood that smart people get paid more. Ironically, marginally intelligent people with college degrees get paid even more, and smart but less educated people can often be left in the dust, career-wise. I try, every once in a great while, to regenerate my college education, but once you enter the real world it has a funny way of impeding progress. Gotta push myself.

So, today, I took said cheesy test. You know the kind... "A is to B as C is to...?" "Which of these things does not belong with the others? (Sesame Street IQ tests?? Oy.)"

There were, oh, 25 or so questions like that. After the test, you get a nice little summary like this:

The Classic IQ Test
What's Your IQ?
Congratulations, Woody!
Your IQ score is 131
This number is based on a scientific formula that compares how many questions you answered correctly on the Classic IQ Test relative to others.

Your Intellectual Type is Insightful Linguist. This means you are highly intelligent and have the natural fluency of a writer and the visual and spatial strengths of an artist. Those skills contribute to your creative and expressive mind. And that's just some of what we know about you from your test results.

Really? "Insightful Linguist?" Wow. That explains a lot.

(By the way, the full 15 page report using actual quotes from actual experts would have cost me $20 a month, plus all the annoying advertising I can handle. No thanks.)

Then I wondered where, on someone's chart, that would put me career-wise. Turns out I now compare with: Physicians and Surgeons; Lawyers; and Engineers (Civil and Mechanical).

Nice cheesy test. Wonder if I can leverage a raise with it? After all, according to this chart, at least, I am smarter than my manager.

UPDATE: Ok. Smart as I am, I am still capable of bad spelling. "Insightful Linguist" was, until just now, "Insightful Linquist." I have no idea what a Linquist is, but I'm pretty sure that wasn't on the list.

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