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Psychologically unfit

Unaplogetically by  Tom Ziegler

Reglar Wiglar #5, 1995



Recently, I endured the humiliation of a psychological profile while applying for a job at a record store. Had I passed, I probably wouldn't be writing this piece, but according to the London House Psychology Survey, not only do I make for an untrustworthy employee, but to hire me would unravel the very fabric of a multi-million dollar corporation.Starting with a few pilfered CDs to supplement my minimum wage income, soon I would have created a slush fund that would have made Maury Stans look like a penny ante poker player.

Of course, I wasn't informed by the chicken-shit manager that I had failed the test. He was satisfied to tell me that he was still interviewing applicants in the hopes that I would grow discouraged and simply quit calling. I had to find out my miserable results from a friend who worked there. Since the test was supposedly a measure of honesty, I have to question the manager's ethics.

A few days later, I applied for a job at a major toy store. Like the record chain, they too had a psychological "inventory". I sat down by the Mighty Max display and proceeded to fill in the dots with a #2 pencil, careful not to mark outside the lines.

Halfway through, I became disgusted that the possibility of my earning $4.25 an hour would be determined by a C average psych major. I tossed my pencil to the floor and walked out.

But I kept the test.

As anyone who has felt the intrusion of one of these measures of honesty can tell you, it is anything but that. Rather, one is tested on his or her ability to manipulate the answers to achieve the appearance of honesty. If everyone answered the questions with full candor, no one would have a job. Or maybe we would all have jobs when someone finally realized that test such as these are no measure of a persons character.

Where I failed was not in my inability to judge right from wrong, but in the poor judgment of not being able to tell the folks what they wanted to hear. Lord knows I tried.

So interest of fair play, I have selected some choice questions for the toy store survey and will attempt to answer them with all the honesty and candor at my disposal.


PART ONE: OPINIONS AND ATTITUDES

1) TAKING ORDERS IS A PART OF EVERY JOB.

FALSE. If you're a waiter or a waitress, taking orders is certainly a party of your job. If you're a judge, keeping order is part of your job. If you're a drill sergeant, giving orders is part and parcel of your job. For anything else, provided you have a shred of dignity, taking orders is not part of the job.

2) AT THIS TIME IN YOUR LIFE, A JOB IS A JOB, NOT A CAREER.

Couldn't be more TRUE. This is a minimum wage paying job, for Christ's sake. Let me play job interviewer for a moment; "Ah, Tom, I couldn't help but notice from the price gun on your belt that your dream is to stock shelves for the rest of your life. That's a nice red apron you're wearing. Oh, you sewed it yourself? That's nice. It says on your application that you enjoy eating macaroni and cheese five times a week. Excellent, I think you'll fit in just fine."

3) YOU PERSONAL INTERESTS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR JOB OR SCHOOL.

Hell yeah, they are. TRUE Daddy-O. I may not have much of a life but at least I can call it my own. When the clock stays it's time to punch out, off comes the name tag. Now if the establishment would let my friend and I hang out and drink beer after closing and if the manager would lend me his car for a few high-speed test runs on Lower Wacker Drive, then sure, I suppose I would be willing to allow my job to seep into my personal life. Until then, forget it.

4) YOUR SOCIAL LIFE MAKES IT HARD FOR YOU TO WORK EVENINGS AND WEEKENDS.

I'm sorry but that would have to be TRUE. Now that doesn't necessarily mean that I won't show up. I'll be there a bit hung over, and yes it will be hard, but I will be there.

5) YOU ARE VERY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT YOUR FUTURE.

Who is? FALSE. Anyone who says they are completely optimistic about their future is either lying or a fool. Would you want to hire a liar or a fool? I didn't ask if you have hired liars and fool, that wasn't the question.

6) EATING PROPERLYY IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR HEALTH.

FALSE. I swallow thirty-five thumbtacks a day, wash them down with a quart of Valvoline, lick all the seats at the Omniplex, gargle with lye and drink from stranger's bottles without wiping the top off. And you know what? I feel great.

7) ONCE IN A WHILE YOU FEEL A LITTLE LAZY.

FALSE. When I'm at work, and I'm finding ways to hide out and smoke cigarettes with other malcontents, laziness is not a factor; lack of motivation is. Pay me a little more, and then if I slack off, we'll call it lazy.

8) YOU NEVER TALK BACK TO YOUR BOSS OR TEACHER.

TRUE, TRUE, TRUE. I wait until my boss is well out of earshot, then I make snide comments to the other employees about his pathetic attempts to hide his bald spot by combing his hair across the top of his head.

9) YOU HAVE SOME BAD HABITS THAT YOU HAVE TRIED TO BREAK BUT JUST HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO.

FALSE. Bad habits are one thing. Physical addictions are another.

10) SOMETIMES YOU FEEL UNEASY ALL DAY FOR NO REASON.

FALSE. Sometimes I feel uneasy all day and it's for a very good reason.

11) YOU DRINK VERY LITTLE ALCOHOL OR NONE AT ALL.

Since there are so many hallucinogens that make work a lot more interesting than booze, I would have to say TRUE. Besides, alcohol is for nancy-boys. I shoot bleach in my eye.

PART TWO: SELF DESCRIPTIONS (Choose the one word that is most like you)

helpful
steady
creative

I would have to say creative. I have created some wonderful excuses. Why just this week I had to go to a few job interviews which inconveniently occurred during my scheduled work hours. When I informed my boss that I had two doctor's appointments, he raised an eyebrow, so I took him aside and embarrassingly admitted that I had hemorrhoids and Ol' Doc Shoemacher was gonna rub some salve on 'em. 'Nuff said.

clever
dependable
cheerful

See me on the job and I'm grinning like a mule eating garlic? I'm so cheerful. La la la dee da. You know why? I'm stoned. Ha ha!

curious
conforming
persuasive

Sometimes I think it's best to be conforming. Individuality attracts attention and I think it's a good idea to escape notice when you're switching price tags on items so the customers will give the managers a hard time.

smart
trustworthy
friendly

Howzabout lucky? I attribute my longetivity in the working world and my avoidance of a life of prison to an act of providence.

PART THREE:

We assume that everyone has experimented with mild narcotics (i.e. marijuana) at one time or another. Please list below your own experiences.

When I was in high school, I used to go to my friend Jason's house every day after school to smoke dope and watch Dukes of Hazard reruns. Jason's older brother was a dealer, so Jason always had good shit. Those were the days when a quarter bag cost twenty-five bucks. High School was a blur. So was college. In fact, I'm stoned right now. I figure if I'm going to work for a measly four and a quarter, I might as well have a good time doing it, right?

PART FOUR:

Part Four consists of several release forms including a consent to drug testing and a background check where the toy store will hire some private dick to make sure I haven't been convicted of any heinous crime. (Arrested, yes, convicted, no.)

Of course, if I do apply for a job in the future that does require a "psychological profile," I can't really say if my reaction will be to again storm out in a self-righteous pique. Having just graduated from college and having been harshly introduced to the realities of the job market, I may just have to lie a little.

I'm not proud of this, but if companies continue their disturbing trend of substituting the narrow results of a standardized test for human judgment, I may just have to swallow my pride and reply when asked that yes, eating properly is important to your health.

More by Tom Ziegler

Zima with a 'Z'
How to be a Smart-Ass
Save the Planet
Making the Least of Your Time

 

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