One hundred years or so ago, I did aptitude testing in the Financial District of New York City. I loved it because I have limited self-knowledge. Oh, how I envy the people who know exactly who they are and where they’re headed at an early age.
For example–when I was in my early thirties, one of my dear friends told me when she was the tender age of seven she knew she wanted to go into fashion marketing.
“What’s fashion marketing?” I asked her.
“It’s what I do,” she said, taken aback.
“I understand that, but what is it? And how in GOD’S NAME did you know you wanted to do it at seven?”
She explained, and while I now have a better grasp of her actual job description, I will never understand how her young mind honed in on it before she completed her first decade on the planet.
The hilarious thing about aptitude testing is it was devised by General Electric in the mid-twentieth century for their employees. They wanted a systematic approach to pinpoint their employees’ natural abilities. Over time, the research deepened, people found it useful and they opened up their testing process to the public–for a fee.
With all this in mind, I still did it, but when they told me I ranked highest in ideaphoria–I laughed so hard it was borderline inappropriate.
“Who made up that word?” I demanded, “It sounds like a condition. It’s not a scientific term, is it?”
“No,” the unbelievably patient woman who delivered my test results said, “but, it’s the word they came up with to describe the trait of having a rapid flow of ideas.”
“The trait?” I asked, “doesn’t everyone have ideas?”
“No,” she smiled, “many people enjoy executing other people’s ideas once they’ve acquired a specific skill set.”
“Really?” I wasn’t laughing anymore–she had a look on her face that said, ‘I know of what I speak.’
“Look at your answer to this question,” she held a sheet of my handwriting up in front of me, “You were asked to write a story about what would happen if you lost your phone. You filled in this entire page and the back of another page.”
“Sorry about that, I ran out of room.”
“That’s not the issue, the issue is–you used the whole page,” she smiled.
“Aren’t you supposed to use the whole page?”
“Most people write one sentence, and from what they tell me, they even have trouble with that.”
“Really? One sentence? I could write for days about what would happen after I lost my phone if someone gave me the chance. I’m not sure anyone would want to read it, but I could do it.”
“Yes, you have high ideaphoria, but you don’t score as high in analytic reasoning so you probably need an editor.”
This did not come as a surprise, a constant editor from birth would have been helpful for me, in all areas.
She had more for me that day, but this particular sliver of information from the trusty folks over at General Electric had a profound effect. It gave me permission to write, not because I needed permission, but because for all my ideaphoria I hadn’t thought of it myself. A refrigerator company tipped me off–I like to think about that.
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E. G. Wolf
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