Monday, March 09, 2009

What the LA school system said I should be when I grow up


Do they still give high school aptitude tests? These are supposed to help you determine what line of work you are best suited for. Even then I wondered what about spatial relations would indicate a proclivity for comedy?

I did not do well on these tests. Spatial relations for example. They’d show you some flat paper configuration and four choices of what it would look like if folded correctly. So they’d be houses and such. I finished in the 45th percentile. That’s George Bush and Jessica Simpson country. It was a good bet I wasn’t going to be the one designing Disney Hall.

On the English test I did so-so.

On the Math test I did so-so. I was a Math major in high school so that was somewhat disturbing. And I so wanted to invent a new Pythagorean Theorem.

And then there was Mechanical Reasoning. If Gear A turned right and Gear B turned left, what direction what Gear C turn? Should legs of a chair go above or below the seat? Those sort of questions. I placed in the 25th percentile. 25th!! That’s below morons, cretins, drooling idiots, and people in a coma. I may have had the lowest score in the history of California. How do I even tie my shoes?

Ultimately my scores were analyzed, the numbers were crunched, and the result: I should become a secretary.

I want to laugh and say these tests are bullshit. But you know what? I still type faster than any of my assistants.

And I have no idea how to open the hood of my car.

27 comments:

CAROLINE said...

The year I took it, there was a glitch in the computer program and literally everyone who took the test had mortician come up as one of their top ten jobs.

My top job was journalist. I decided against that and truthfully, just fell into tv producing and writing and sales. So far, so good. 20 years and counting.

TCinLA said...

Interesting. I remember the one test I ever took, because the result was I should work as a nurseryman. Got sent to the Vice Principal's office for laughing in the "expert's" face and telling him I couldn't grow a plant if you held a gun to my head. That was age 14 and I can only grow hordes of tomatoes, but not so much now lately because of there being no bees to pollinate the plants. Had five plants this year and a total of 8 shitty tomatoes. So much for "nurseryman."

I have long thought that back when I took those tests, the social class you came from had more than a bit to do with the outcome. I went to a junior and senior high that had everyone from working class kids to kids from the Denver equivalent of Beverly Hills in it. As I recall, my friend whose dad was an airline pilot was told he should be a businessman. Given that 30 years ago I remember reading about him being busted as a major marijuana dealer, it's obvious he took that advice.

As to typing - I was three units short of getting out of Junior High so my dad had me take a typing class that spring. The only class in 12 years of public school where I actually learned something useful - my entire life thereafter has been funded by that ability.

Len Dreary said...

We never had those tests in the UK when I was a kid.
However my teachers continually told me I'd never get anywhere playing the fool.
I'm pleased to report I've made an excellent living out of stupid rude jokes for the last 20 years.
Ha! Up yours, teachers!

okiesister said...

I was told I would make a great assembly line worker.

RON JACOBS said...

OK Beaner ... enough of your childhood mammerings until you think of another name to drop, island to cursorily explore, absorbed with learning lineups fill, do a delsie, whatever the hell that is under this box for verification ...

WONDERFUL CONTEST :: MAKE TV QUIZ PILOT

But I am here to take advantage of your hip, global
audience ... to announce that I HAVE BEEN BANISHED FROM TWITTER.

Hah! How fukken hip is THAT?

Mary Stella said...

I can't remember taking the test, let alone what it suggested I should do for a career. I'm pretty sure that romance novelist wasn't an option, but marketing and P.R. could have been, so it fit.

Had it said astrophysicist or neurosurgeon or, for that matter, math teacher, I'd have known the whole thing was bogus.

wv = amingst. When you're really deep amongst something.

Rock Golf said...

Ken: I'm wondering if you heard the news that the bartender at the Bull & Finch pub has been laid off after 35 years.

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/article/599532

vp19 said...

My top job was journalist. I decided against that and truthfully, just fell into tv producing and writing and sales. So far, so good. 20 years and counting.

Given the industry's descent into hell the past few years, lucky you. (My newspaper just laid off a few workers yesterday, including the press staff; it will now be printed in suburban Richmond and driven up I-95 to northern Virginia.)

wv: "netedi" -- lingerie especially designed for neo-conservatives.

wv: "billa" -- what Keith Olbermann called O'Reilly after the latter had a sex-change operation.

John said...

I went to Stuyvesant H.S. in New York, one of the three so-called "academic" high schools in the city you have to take a test to get into (the fact that the school was also over a mile closer to my house than the one I would have gone to if I hadn't passed the test was a wonderful motivating factor). Anyway, one of the things the guidance counselors were proud of was the school's 100 percent college acceptance and attendance rate, so they reacted an absolute horror when my friend Steve went in for a session early senior year and said he planned to take the test to qualify for the N.Y.C. Department of Sanitation when he graduated. The counseling staff was not amused after the fact by the joke (and I suppose it should also be noted that Steve was purged back to his district high school in the Rockaways later that senior year, which was the advantage the staff at Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech had -- if kid was giving you problems, you could ship them out to their district campus).

SharoneRosen said...

my spacial relations and mechanical reasoning scores were very high. Since I was a girl, that meant I should be a florist!!! didn't matter that my English scores were also high... florist

Plants wither and die at my meer approach. Not the right field for me, I'd say

Dr. Shrinker said...

I grew up in the Valley a few years after Ken, and they were still doing the testing then. My top 2 choices were "model" and "bank guard"...while it would be great if you could just decide to be a model, I think the reason I got those 2 was that I was an exceptionally lazy teenager and both jobs literally involve just standing there.

WV: "torsi" -- the new, limbless fashion doll

dgm said...

wv: compho

(I read that as "comp-ho" rather than "comfo".) My high school aptitude test never predicted I'd be a computer ho.

jbryant said...

Dr. Shrinker: I'm trying to figure out what kind of written test can show an aptitude for being photogenic.

Dana Gabbard said...

I don't remember what result I had from the testing. But my impression was the main purpose was to aid the military services in targeting who they should be recruiting (this was the late 70s, just after the draft ended). I must have done well because soon I was getting calls and my mailbox was flooded with propoganda. This continued even after I left to attend college out of state. At one point my annoyed Mom marked "deceased" on some literature sent to me by the navy (which was especially anxious to recruit me) and sent it back. And that did seem to end the stream of mail that had been chasing me.

Ben said...

I was told I should be either a television/radio announcer or a priest.

Perfect for me, at the time a 13 year old budding agnostic who was deathly afraid of performing in front of anyone.

Emily Blake said...

I always answered the questions in a way I knew I'd get the answer I wanted.

I guess that makes me suited to be a writer.

Carolyn said...

Mine came out to Engineer, only in those days, girls weren't supposed to be engineers. I wanted to be a writer anyway, but I remember thinking that was kind of cool. I often wonder how/if my life might have been different if someone had said, hey, let's put the girl into Engineering anyway.

My son just took some flavor of these tests and his came out to veterinarian assistant and horse trainer. He hates horses. Way to get the kids thinking about lofty goals.

Tom Quigley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harold X said...

They’d show you some flat paper configuration and four choices of what it would look like if folded correctly. So they’d be houses and such. I finished in the 45th percentile. That’s George Bush and Jessica Simpson country. It was a good bet I wasn’t going to be the one designing Disney Hall.

Actually, Disney Hall looks as if Frank Gehry finished somewhere below you.

Tom Quigley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Quigley said...

Wonder if the use of aptitude tests might have made you think about what the future held for the following:

Charles Manson: Activities Director at a home for runaway indigents

Rush Limbaugh: hot-air balloon inflator

O.J. Simpson: Ginsu Knife salesman

Michael Vick: Dog Trainer

Donnie and Marie Osmond: Dentists (because gosh darn it, they just can’t help but put a big smile on your face)

Simon Cowell: Supreme Monarch of the British Empire:

Paula Abdul: Drug and Alcohol addiction counselor

Charlie Sheen: cloistered monk

Sarah Palin: Curator at a natural wildlife preserve

Michael Jackson: Catholic priest

Britney Spears: Nanny

Christian Bale: Dale Carnegie instructor

Ann Coulter: ACLU lawyer representing the rights of gays, socialists and illegal migrant farm workers

George W. Bush: 2 possibilities: (1) high school dropout; (2) President of the United States (now isn’t that just sad?)

WordSmith said...

I love this! Love.

Standardized tests used to fill me with fear, despite the fact that I was an A/B student. A word-nerd, a brainiac, a geek who actually LIKED school, but I was terrible at these tests. My SAT scores were dismal.

Richard Y said...

I was tested out to be a 'barber'. My parents were pissed, at me, thought I was lazy. Well, eventually became a firefighter and retired as a Chief Officer. I minored in Radio and TV broadcasting (so there is my connection) and working on my 3rd book, about television.
Richard
PS: nothing against barbers of course, I visit frequently.

Dr. Shrinker said...

I'm trying to figure out what kind of written test can show an aptitude for being photogenic.

Yeah, I mean I was kind of cute and all, but hardly Cheryl Tiegs material. Plus, I'm a guy.

wv: inanti: being simultaneously for and against something

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I don't remember taking any tests in high school, but I took them when I joined the Army. According to the results I was qualified for everything, but I enlisted to be a heavy equipment operator so that's the school I attended. Virtually never operated heavy equipment after school unless you count a few months of driving a dump truck.
I also passed the tests for Officer Candidate School, but it was all a scam. They never sent me even though they said I'd be going.

RFHarris said...

I have a bit of a different take. I got my general education diploma and then went to community college and then went to a real college.

Now my teenagers are taking these placement tests.

I did most of my study in the library, outside on campus, or in my backyard.

I hate the fact that my kids sit in stuffy rooms with thirty other noisy kids (who I don't like, or their parents mostly, not because I'm anti-social but because they creep me out).

It makes me sad that we try to take kids imagination and creativity and everything that makes it awesome to be a kid and then we stuff them in a box of what we think they should be.

And I listen to way too much Pink Flloyd.

JohninMA said...

According to his military records, and an analysis by Steve Sailer, George Bush is in the 90-95th percentile with an IQ around 125-130, same as John Kerry, behind Al Gore.

Jessica Simpson could be pretending too.