Hail Mary

Received a call yesterday about the consulting job I applied for a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been hanging out for the call back and was just about at the end of my string. The good is that I was congratulated for having successfully interviewed for the role, and was invited to schedule the step step in the process, namely some aptitude testing.

I booked that in for 10am this morning, and am home now having completed it.

I’m pretty confident whenever I’m asked to do any sort of intelligence or aptitude testing. I’ve got a history of doing very well. I don’t necessarily look forward to the tests – they’re a drag – but at the same time I’m grateful it’s a part of the process because it’s something i can get a leg-up on my rivals.

So anyway, turned up this morning at the allotted time, was shown to a secure room, given a glass of water, some instructions, and the test to complete. I had up to 4 hours to get it done I was told, but will probably finish before then. And so I began.

I’ve done a lot of different tests over the years, but never one like this. In general terms it sought to test on different attributes – comprehension, grammar, judgement/common-sense, and reasoning ability. It differed mainly in being more comprehensive and detailed than any test I’d done before, and the logic/reasoning ability was specifically geared towards programmers, which of course I am not. That wasn’t an issue – logic and reasoning ability is innate, it’s not industry specific.

I flew through the first part, comprehension and grammar, and wouldn’t be surprised if I get a perfect score.

The next section was more subjective, posing a series of dilemmas and asking what I would do in each scenario. They were presented starkly, so the answers I gave were qualified, subject to further detail which had not been supplied. I did suggest an inclination, and a course of action, however.

The last section was only 3 questions long, but they were doozies. They incorporated arithmetic and sequential flows and conditional equations. They were all very detailed, particularly the last, and required some serious thinking time just to understand exactly what the questions meant, and how the conditional clauses worked.

It is the world of the computer programmer, but the concepts were clear once you got your head around them. In fact, the questions required a fair degree of intelligence to understand them, but once understood it was just a process of executing the steps as was set out.

At one stage I was quite worried. I just wasn’t getting one of the questions. I probably spent half an hour sorting through the question and working through a complex example. Eventually it clicked.

As it turned out I finished way early – 12.05. I don’t know if that is good or bad. I’m reasonably confident, but it only takes one dud some – it was all mental arithmetic and hand working out – for the answer to be wrong. In other words, I could get the question and steps needed to solve it perfectly right, but if I transposed, or didn’t carry another, then it would be all for naught.

Having said that, they required for you to note down your workings. They want perfection I’m sure, but more important probably is evidence that you grasped the concept and worked through it logically. I might get the result wrong, but the method right.

I don’t know, but I think I probably got the method and the results right.

Assuming I tick that box the last step is the peer review. I expect that the testing will rule out a few of my rivals. That’s good, I’ll be so much closer to the pointy end. Then I have to impress my potential co-workers, and that’s a big variable, and potentially much trickier. Just use my charm, I guess.

In any case, I’m very relieved to be in this situation. I needed it. I was close to cracking the other day. Just going into the city today wearing my suit felt like a kind of homecoming. It was so familiar, so comfortable. If we’re talking about reconstructing the man I was then right there are a lot of habits and attitudes that would come back in the snap of a finger if I was in the job again.

I feel at a turning point. What happens with this will determine much about my future, and I mean more than just financially. If I got the job it would be of massive importance to my immediate future – I could survive, remain in my home, even pay off some debt. There’s more to it than that though.

This is the last throw of the dice for me. I said a couple of weeks ago that if this didn’t work out I’d give away my old career and find something new. As it stands I’m in the running. What happens next will determine if I become homeless, or not, and what career, if any, I go on with in the years left to me,

Fingers crossed.




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