"Sometimes I become angry when people hit me on the head." [strongly agree/agree/neutral/disagree]
In the meantime, I will be in Women's Accessories through Christmas. Well, I say "accessories," but in fact there's only one. It's a handbag. There's this one ten-foot-tall imitation calfskin handbag and I'm in charge of it. When customers come by, I'm planning to hide in the handbag until they go away. The actual weirdness of my real life constrains me to point out that the preceding four sentences were a joke. I really am working at Big Dept. Store, though, apparently in an effort to hit up every New England cliche in my working life. Next step will probably be moving to Cape Ann and catching lobsters, or translating books of vile magic in the hills of Western Massachusetts, or working in a denim mill wearing a giant hoopskirt (or marching through the streets singing "Bread and Roses").
Someone posted to a thread on Making Light recently about wanting to take on the task of job-seeking as a discipline, in the way that yoga or a musical instrument are daily disciplines, instead of as a Band-Aid or as pressure on a stab wound. I liked that notion. Given that I'm trying not to make a panic-based move into a shitty job situation, I think job-seeking as a calm daily effort is a great idea. Of course, I'm bad at making ongoing steady efforts like playing an instrument every day--I'm much better at a huge burst of activity, then nothing, then rallying, refreshing my ideals, and making another burst of activity. But I hope to improve.
Is anyone sick of good-employee questionnaires like this?
1. "I am good at working as part of a team." [strongly agree/agree/neutral/disagree/violently disagree]
2. "I am a self-starter." [strongly agree/agree/neutral/disagree/violently disagree]
3. "People should always obey the rules, no matter what." [strongly agree/agree/neutral/disagree/violently disagree]
4. "Loud screaming upsets me." [strongly agree/agree/neutral/disagree/violently disagree]
5. "I am proud of my achievements." [strongly agree/agree/neutral/disagree/violently disagree]
6. "It is OK to steal from the cash register if your manager has been getting on your nerves." [strongly agree/agree/neutral/disagree/violently disagree]
These things make me want to punch the company that uses them. The neutral-sounding questions induce paranoia, the blatantly obvious questions insult my intelligence, and overall they're useless at telling much about a person's employability. I imagine that sociopaths and the more cynical/experienced applicants just learn to game the system and know what tickyboxes the questionnaire wants you to click in order to look good. The rest of us sit there going, "But what if I say I AM a self-starting person, and all the time that was secret code for 'I have a chip on my shoulder and will talk back to managers'? I am proud of my achievements... but what if they think I shouldn't be... but that's good, right?... no, why would they draw attention to it if it wasn't a trap... I can't lie! I can't! I can't! This form selects for good lying abilities! *sniff*sob*whimper*"
Kestrell and I had a conversation about this back on Halloween, and at her suggestion I've done a little research. Our guess was right: there are multiple guides out there, including an entire book, explaining how to game the system in personality tests. They're generally Myers-Briggs personality tests, for the record. Even this minimal research reassures me about one thing: the occasional obvious question is in there to weed out the people-pleasers. If the statement is "I have never ever been angry about anything," they don't want you to say, "Strongly agree," because you're either a robot or you're lying. That does give me something to cling to. Know thine enemy.
I like this thread, especially the punchline: "And they ask for this kind of test to work at Target, lol." If it's possible to give an angry, mirthless lol, that was it, right there.