Monday, April 25, 2011

antfarm

My colleague E is more senior than I am, and actually important enough for my employer to send her for psychometric profiling. She was genuinely excited by what she picked up on the course she attended. I like and respect my colleague, who is an intelligent and capable woman - probably more capable than I am, and I was genuinely surprised by how impressed she was with the course's teaching - a sort of shoddy totemism with a vaguely Myers-Briggs flavour. You expect individuals to have unusual enthusiasms, but this whole thing is part of the management culture of my company. The whole management thing, apparently, is that a person does not have a proprietorial sense of self, but imagines their world as a kind of antfarm, subject to inspection by improbable experts, who can tell you what you're about.

Maybe the content of the experts' teaching is ultimately reconcileable with management goals. On the other hand, when I get home and think about this, it seems like the way the profiling course was set up would have allowed the wildest extravagances from the experts conducting it. And my colleague would've been calmly writing down the instructions of a wild eyed maniac, frantically chewing betal:

"you are a Beano double page spread - of the floorboards of a Victorian house - and in the maze of floorboards is a cartoon mouse - cowering - and the mouse is your soul"

2 comments:

W. Kasper said...

I quite enjoy that nonsense when I've been coerced into it. In my twenties, I'd revise it for chat-up schtick. If you deliberately lie on about two or three questions, you can end up as three very different 'people'. Great to hear the 'experts' tell you you're 'complicated' when you don't fit their grid.

catmint4 said...

Oh god - in my twenties I was reading stuff like - Art and Anti-Art, 1000 plateaus, and Debord's biography - "all power to the imagination!" etc - and I'd deliberately give spontaneous answers in these work things - which was really a bad idea, and harmed my career.

Really, I try to take these things as seriously as everyone else, and I try to be humble with respect to the people I deal with and their experience - which is why I was genuinely shocked by intelligent, thoughtful people buying into a lot of nonsense. It isn't that I think the results of these quizzes are totally useless - it's how shabbily the proof is assembled - by improbable authorities, by insinuation and metaphor, as proved when rigorously unproveable due to the number of variables.

anyway, thanks for your comment