Thursday, November 15, 2007

Testing, testing ....

For nearly all of my working life, new jobs have come to me. Once I was actually walking out of the gynecologist's office as someone I knew was walking in. She stopped me and said,

"I need a statistician, what are you doing these days?"

In pursuit of my new career life goal to never again be in a North Dakota airport at 5 a.m. on a January morning, I have decided to make an actual effort. After this morning, though, I just may go back to my original plan of sitting home with the door open and waiting for people to throw in bags of money.

On the hours-long qualification exam there were thirty reading comprehension questions, all along the lines of:

"When learners are self-motivated to engaging in writing activities pursuant to aspirations for development of professional communication via networking options heretofore not available prior to the current technology which has lagged in implementation due to fiscal budgetary constraints, the appropriate response is :"

and then it would give four choices, A through D, not one of which was,
"Who in God's name writes this kind of bull-shit?"

so, I helpfully penciled it in next to "E". I am expecting extra credit points.

Then there were several questions about where one places commas. COMMAS? I'm a statistician. Commas go after every three digits:


See how I correctly placed the commas?

If that wasn't enough, there were ostensibly logic questions such as

If A is greater than B, and
C is 20 degrees colder than D, but
D has more feet than A, then it logically follows that

B is a trapezoid
D is a polar bear
The polar ice cap has melted
A is greater than B

If you read the example above carefully, you can see that the logic problems weren't too hard.

Actually, I think I did quite well on the test. I finished before everyone except for one girl who tore the test and cried, so I am pretty sure she didn't get done before me because she knew all of the answers off the top of her head.

If this doesn't work out, maybe I'll get this job like I did the last couple, with a message on my voice mail,
Hello. We need someone with a Ph.D. to teach statistics and we heard you are good. Could you start on Thursday?

Hopefully, they won't ask about aspiring professional communicators or trapezoidal polar bears.
--------------------REQUIRED JUDO TIP ----------------------------------------
I am a big believer in situation drills. One of my more evil ones is the instant Golden Score. That is, we have groups out for five minute rounds but then I will pick two or three groups and they go a second five minute round.

How this differs from a regular ten-minute round of randori is that you don't KNOW you are going to go ten minutes from the very beginning, so you can't pace yourself, which is what people do when you announce they are going to go for 10 or 15 minutes of randori. In a real tournament situation, you are going all out for five minutes and there is no score and now you have another five minute match in front of you. Even the toughest person in the bunch at that moment thinks, if even for just a second, "Oh, crap!"

An even better simulation of the actual tournament would be if we picked a couple of groups and had them go another five minutes or until the first score. I haven't been doing that, but I am going to start.

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