I took a personality test this week and suddenly every personal decision I’ve made in my adult life started playing on a loop in my head. I don’t necessarily want to relive the events of my life, but for the sake of success on a personality test, I might go back and make some minor adjustments. Just this week I cut someone off in traffic…accidentally…I thought she saw my turn signal if not my determination to merge. She started screaming and honking her horn. Yes, I would like a redo. Would the test even be able to know there were lots of mini-redo’s in my past? I didn’t think so, but maybe, just maybe, it would inadvertently unearth some personality pattern I’d missed.
Had I missed something? Before I knew I had to take a test, I thought I was a pretty okay person. As soon as I found out someone was going to actually measure my personality I suddenly thought I may have been just kidding my myself about how “good” I thought I was. And what is good anyway? Like, I tip well. Shouldn’t that count for something? If there was a section on tipping on the test I would pass for sure. (Note: There was not a section on tipping. Oh well.)
Discussing personality tests with my friends, I found the feeling of mild anxiety is surprisingly common. (Common in my unscientific sampling of a ½ dozen friends, that is.) The last thing most of us want is forced self-awareness. The only warts we want to see on ourselves are actual warts we can treat with medicine, not a psychological wart stemming from our sacred personality.
My test was for work purposes and there were a series of questions asking me to rank a list of four job titles/professions from most wanted to least wanted. I was to assume I had the skills and the pay was equal to do every job (I wish!). Throughout this section, similar job titles recurred. For example, I kept ranking librarian higher than accountant and reporter kept beating clerk. Although an accountant at the library in the periodical section would be a great job for me.
One grouping of job titles included physicist and farmer. I don’t remember the other two choices. All I know is suddenly, literally out of the blue, I entertained the idea of being a physicist. I wanted to unlock the secrets of the universe, and I most certainly did not want to run a farm. As I mused over the question, I thought I could really pull this off. If you had just met me and I said I was a physicist, I’d like to imagine you’d be impressed and not surprised. On the other hand, if you just met me and I said I was a farmer, I’d imagine you’d be upset that I was flat out lying to you.
After daydreaming my way through that question, the anxiety of what the test was trying to uncover returned. I hope the results aren’t terrifying. I hope they don’t find that I have the psychological makeup of a serial killer. And that if I do, they stop before I get moving on that trait