This past weekend I went downtown to the government's Office of Personnel Management to take a test for this government fellowship for which I was nominated. The fellowship offers finalists a chance to earn an entry level job in government work and it's generally considered to be a good way to start a career in public service.
Having been subjected the public school system growing up, I am no stranger to standardize tests. I was a bit miffed that this year was the first year they'd cut out the interview process (as previously mentioned, I usually rock the interview portion) but whatever. Like most things related to government, the process is less stringent than it is tedious. Of course, I say this with a certain bureaucratic fondness - this is not Italy we're dealing with.
However, I'd forgotton about those stupid, tiny circles you have to precisely fill in. And the number two pencil. And the questions that start with: "Everyone with a computer science degree, twelve managers and six monkeys attended the training. How many monkeys have computer science degrees?"
For an added bonus, there was a special "Personal Assessment" portion. Am I more, less or just as agressive as my peers? [WHO WANTS TO KNOW??] Would my previous boss (or teacher if not previously employed) rate me as strongly, moderately or mediocrely as punctual as my other colleagues? [How do they know I don't work in an office with a bunch of compulsively punctual people??]
Do you work out a) 7-billion times a week, b)4-6 times a week c) 1-3 times a week or do you opt to sit on your fat ass in front of the TV after a long day of work at, watching re-runs of taped Oprah and eating a half frozen burrito?
Why do you want to be a part of this program? a) glory and prestige, b) sex and drugs c) public service and honor to my country without having to serve in the Middle East or d) eh, why not?
I'm sorry, after four hours of this, it's hard not to be cynical.
Hopefully sometime soon, they'll put my little dots into the computer system and it will read that I am a perfect match. In the meantime, I'll just have to make it a point to be more agressively punctual than my peers.
M is for More Questions Please,