Genesis Part V
It was the mid-nineties and I had enthusiastically exceeded my competence level as a systems analyst. The adage that those who can’t do – teach was alive and well and directed me to pursue a career in education. I had a brilliant plan. The first step was to complete a masters in adult education. Done. The second step was to market myself as someone with practical hands-on work experience combined with a theoretical understanding of adult education. Check. The third step was to sit back and wait for the job offers to come piling in. Didn’t happen. Funny, same thing didn’t happen to @drstrangejob.
Not to be daunted, I decided that my resume needed an “isn’t that special” attention grabber. Industry certifications were a hot commodity at the time and the one with the most prestige was Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). It took almost two years to complete that puppy, but it worked. I landed an instructor position teaching information technology at a prestigious community college.
I was MCSE when MCSE was cool. In fact, I was the first person in the entire province to complete the certification. It went to my head. I went overboard with promoting the fact that I held the MCSE designation. I bought the shirt, jacket, pen, coffee cup, laptop case, and just about anything that had either the MCSE logo or Microsoft Professional designation attached. I went certifiable over the certification.
One morning I found myself admiring my Dilbert inspired IT guru reflection in the mirror whilst paying careful attention as to how the MCSE logo on the official Microsoft pen complemented the Microsoft Professional logo on my official Microsoft polo shirt. I was pumped. I was the man. I was the Microsoft Man.
What kind of dick is proud to wear a logo that emphasizes the words micro and soft? What type of male nerd would that be? Microsoft should change their name to Maximumhard. That might distract from all the system down time, or at least keep the system up long enough to be useful.
Next on the Blog: Irrefutable proof that Bill Gates is in league with the devil
Like Dr. StrangeJob on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/drstrangejob
Follow Dr. StrangeJob on Twitter at https://twitter.com/drstrangejob
Genesis of Dr. StrangeJob – Part IV
I was all but hired for a position in information technology at a major federal corporation. As the last interviewee standing, I was invited to visit corporate headquarters for a final set of interviews and to complete the standard barrage of corporate tests. They were very thorough in the 80’s and one of the major tests for the position was the all-important programmer aptitude test. The final job offer hinged on interviews with senior corporate staff and the score achieved on the aptitude test.
Programmer aptitude tests are designed to test logic, comprehension, and programming skills. They are precisely timed and designed not to be completed within the allotted timeframe unless you are some sort of a genius. My test was scored by the HR department immediately upon completion and prior to interviews with senior staff.
Apparently, my results caused a bit of a stir because my scores were the highest scores received by an applicant. They must have thought they had a programming guru within their grasp and became enthusiastic in insuring I accepted the position. I didn’t have the heart to tell them the truth behind my amazing test results – at least not until now.
What they didn’t know was that my systems analysis instructor had provided me with a few sample programmer aptitude tests and strongly suggested I review them prior to the interview. The interview was in another province and I took an 8 hour train ride to corporate headquarters. This provided ample opportunity to review the sample aptitude tests, but I only managed to review one of them. It actually took me the better part of the trip to complete that one. Turns out that was the very test they gave me during the interview process.
Thank you Vic Dawson
Next time from Doctor to Satirist – Seven Days That Shook My World
Follow Dr. StrangeJob at https://twitter.com/drstrangejob
Genesis of Dr. StrangeJob – Part III
After kicking around university for seven years I finally decided it was time to get a real job. That’s when reality struck me – real jobs are few and far between for someone with an Arts degree and a minor in Philosophy. Yes, I was a much better person as a result of my university experience, just a lot poorer than I had anticipated. No one mentioned that when I was paying my yearly tuition fees. I guess some things will never change.
This was the mid-80s and the whole “computer” thing was turning into a fad, so I decided to take a diploma in data processing. My initial degree was a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies (BACS) and I thought a diploma in data processing combined with BACS would be a marketable package. Turns out I was right. Kind of.
I did end up with a job as a computer systems analyst that lasted 13 years. I had always assumed the diploma, rather than the degree, was the main reason for being offered the position. I found out years later that it was actually the undergraduate degree that landed me the position, but not for the reason one would expect. One of the members of the interview panel confided that they thought BACS was an acronym for Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science rather than Community Studies. Either they didn’t read my resume closely or I was a bit reckless with the truth on my application.
Computer geeks should stay tuned for Part IV and a funny story about programmer aptitude tests.
End Part III
Genesis of Dr. StrangeJob – Part II
After deciding not to pursue economics as a field of academic study, I enrolled in an undergraduate degree in community studies with a minor in philosophy. I also became a part-time social activist and mind expanding enthusiast per Carlos Castaneda. What can I say, it was the late 70’s and early 80’s. I was attending a local peace group meeting when I met the Junior High School teacher that had the audacity to fail my brilliant paper on the Peter Principle. We talked.
Well actually, I talked and he listened to me babble about how he ruined my career as an economist. I was somewhat surprised when he explained how he fondly remembered me as a student and how much he had enjoyed my diatribe on the incompetence of the education system. He recollected a different outcome. In fact, he recalled that he actually scored the paper full marks, but had purposely returned the assignment with a zero grade to show that he was in on the joke.
That couldn’t be. The paper was valued at 20% of the final course grade. I had already accumulated a mark of 72/80 without the paper and since my final course grade was 72 then I must have received a score of zero for the assignment. How else to explain the final score. He puzzled on that for a minute and then gave me this befuddled look of amusement that followed with one of those “oh shit” Kodak moments.
Turns out he was in the hospital during the last of the academic semester and a substitute teacher was tasked with compiling and entering his final grades. My teacher had initially posted a zero in his mark ledger with the full intention of changing it to 20 during final grade compilation. The substitute teacher would not have known that. As a result, my lowest mark for the year was in economics and my overall term grade point average was lowered as a result. At that exact moment, we both realized that we were in on a bigger joke. The Peter Principle was alive and well.
Genesis of Dr. StrangeJob – Part 1
To say that I am a procrastinator is as understatement. The genesis to write Dr. StrangeJob started in Grade 9 Junior High. The class was being introduced to the concept of Economics and was required to write a report on a current economic theory or topic. I had enjoyed the study of economics and the course had instilled an initial interest in pursuing economics as a career.
I wrote a paper on “The Peter Principle” and argued that the concept of incompetence by promotion was alive and well in the current teaching environment. In fact, I argued that the education system was so incompetent that it was unable to teach me anything of value. I guess my satirical side was starting to develop around that time.
The teacher agreed wholeheartedly with my report and gave the paper a mark of zero. He noted that my paper was so persuasive that he had no choice but to give it a failing mark. If, as I argued in my report, I had not learned anything of value due to the total incompetence of the education system then I should logically receive no value for my effort. I was devastated and decided to end my future career in economics.
End Part 1