Jenn, Penelope, and I headed to the Johnson O’Connor (JOC) foundation for my test results. I felt tense and uneasy. Sure, the test results were front and center in my mind. But the rain made for a more immediate concern. “Maybe they should add Texting While Driving in the Rain in Atlanta to the Olympic roster. Jenn and I laughed then glanced out the passenger side window and saw a guy engrossed in typing, hurtling toward the back of the car in front of him which was slowing down. We were convinced an accident was imminent when the texter slammed on his brakes. Our laughter died. My eyes focused on the road. Jenn looked over at the driver that nearly got hit. “She’s texting too!” It wasn’t the way I hoped my day would begin, nor the frame of mind I wanted to be in while receiving my test scores.
We arrived at Lenox Towers and took the elevator to the 10th floor. Minutes later we sat in a large office. Permission to record the meeting was granted the previous day. I set up both phones to record as a precaution against smartphone failure. I settled into my chair while Jenn entertained Penelope by tracing hands and a teddy bear.
“When I look at your pattern you have a lot of scores right down the middle. You scored like a very balanced person. Aptitude wise you have a lot of flexibility. There are a lot of things you can do and enjoy. But there are two things that really stick out in your aptitude pattern; a pull towards people and a pull towards words. Do those sound like you?”
“Oh yeah” I said.
“People are important to someone that scores Objective. They are usually more of a group or team person. We often find them in leadership positions or a part of a team. Have you had any leadership experience?”
“I’m a manager with a dozen direct reports” I said.
“You scored like you would be an enjoyable person to work with. Your scores also show you like to collaborate and delegate, to find the people who are best for specific tasks. Do you scout for talent and figure out who should be doing what?”
“That’s part of my job.” I said.
It was strange hearing someone describe my current position and what my preferences were without knowing me or what I do. (Johnson O’Connor collects no information about your current or past work history before the test.) I knew there would be no epiphany, no moment during the meeting when I would be told “You should focus on discrete mathematics.” or “Have you considered flux capacitor repairman?” I noticed a stack of books close to the administrator about management and leadership. Chosen for our visit I presumed.
“You don’t want to get into something too specialized, a narrow or niche area on a certain topic or set of skills. You’ll want to have the big picture, to see how things fit together. Does it sound like you?”
“Oh yeah, it’s kind of creepy how accurate that is” I said.
For the next hour my JOC guide discussed each assessment and my results. Some things were no surprise. Tonal memory and pitch discrimination were average to high average. When combined they indicated an aptitude for music and linguistic cadence. Or studying whale song. “Music is part of the fabric of your being” the administrator said. I thought of the years gone by and how much better my guitar skills should be. Or piano. I wasn’t convinced it would have translated to any gainful employment.
I scored 30th percentile in the last auditory test, rhythm memory. “That’s why I don’t dance” I said. I was disappointed the score wasn’t higher. I played snare drum in grade school and could keep a beat playing a kit. Why was my score so low? There was no time to commiserate as we moved on to the next section.
Ideaphoria was a term I found repeatedly while searching online for information on JOC. The word evoked images of people in the throws of ecstasy while brainstorming. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. And when I found out my score was average, I was doubly confounded. The explanation and examples provided by the administrator put the concept and the values into perspective. A person with a high ideaphoria score may have a hundred and one ideas in a day versus a someone with a low score who has two good ideas in a month. High ideaphoria individuals succeed in marketing. Low ideaphoria individuals may find it easier to focus on one thing, a great attribute for accountants and clerical workers. Since my score was average, it indicated a steady yet not overwhelming stream of new ideas and more satisfaction when duties are shuffled or changed periodically.
In school I frequently waited until the last moment to complete assignments. I wrote papers the weekend before they were due and studied for tests the night before. Several of my managers have pointed out my indecisiveness and asked that I work on it. My deductive reasoning score unraveled the mystery; it fell right down the middle, indicating I like to procrastinate. When the administrator asked if I held off on making decisions it didn’t take Jenn long to reflect on over a decade of observation. “He does not like to make decisions” she said.
“I feel like I work better when I’m forced to make a decision” I said.
“Exactly” said the administrator. She proceeded to unpack the statement by explaining my natural tendency is to play a mental game of hot potato with information, tossing it from one part of my brain to the next in order to understand the issue from as many angles as possible. “Sometimes people that score down the middle like to be the vice president rather than the president, because the vice president can come up with multiple ideas and if it works they can say “great! That was one of my ideas” and if it doesn’t work they can say “well, I gave you other options”. Deadlines and some pressure to complete tasks is beneficial to my work and satisfaction. Some. Not a lot.
It also pointed out something I suspected about myself; my mind doesn’t shut down. When I don’t have an issue or dilemma to contend with I become bored. I reflected on the information and realized it meant I liked imperfection to a degree. “Keep procrastinating” the administrator said with a laugh.
Spatial recognition was average. If my score were on the high end I might enroll in school for engineering. If it was low it might indicate I was more comfortable with words and ideas. But I was on the edge. I couldn’t account for it. When I was taking the spatial assessments I thought my scores would be some of the lowest the foundation had seen. “You could use it but your score doesn’t indicate you feel a need to” the administrator said.
As the meeting closed the administrator asked if I had any further questions. I couldn’t think of anything. I was overwhelmed. It was like I ate a large meal and was being asked to order another entree. “No, not at this time. I’m sure I’ll have more later.” I said.
“The more variety in a job for you, the better. Your scores indicate a pull in many directions.” This wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I wanted to see a sheet with a large number of low scores and one or two high scores. Instead I felt like a wanderer looking for a specific path only to reach a clearing with paths leading out in many directions with no clear indication
I was invigorated and frustrated by my scores. The silver lining to emerge from the assessment was confirmation I ended up in a position best suited for my aptitudes. As it turned out, management was my strong suit.