Lord only knows why, but I took an online careers test today. Caught in the whimsy of some fey mood, I Googled careers direction and clicked on the first matching result, a site called Groper. It was of small comfort, after a moment of linguistic disorientation, to realise this referred to a type of fish, given that:
a) there is no discernable link between fish and career development, unless you are Unhygenix the Gaul; and
b) the blue Groper mascot, Gus, was talking to me.
This last was cause for real concern, because it implies that someone, somewhere wants to discuss job options with a cartoon Achoerodus viridis. Still, the murky waters of Internet have thrown up far stranger specimens than good ol’ Gus, and after reading through six speech-bubbled statements, I found myself invited on a fishing trip. As there was no option for ”Sod off, Groper,” I contented myself with clicking next, which, after more laborious dialouge, saw me redirected to…the About page.
Scrolling down through the multiple types of ‘Career Interests Profiler’ on offer (ranging from the free Mini Report to the $179.95 Complete Report + Myers Briggs Personality Indicator + Course Reccomendations Report), I finally found a link to Start the Career Interests Profiler – or, as it might be phrased in more natural English, take the damn test.
Continuing the piscine theme, the first section was called – ta-dah – The Reef. As in, the place where fish swim. What followed was a check-box list of career-specific options for me to approve or dislike; and by ‘specific’, I mean ‘study the effects of environmental pollution’ and ‘diagnose and treat a neck and back injury’. Neck and back injury? That’s just bein’ fancy.
Having finally decided that ‘navigate and supervise the operation of a ship’ was unrepresentative of my career ambitions, I left the Inner Reef for the Outer. Here, I was asked to rate my interest in various industries. Would I like to work in engineering? Child care? Jewellery design? As I ticked ‘no’ to Emergency Services, Gus blobbed merrily in the top corner, evincing Groperish concern for my wellbeing, if not my answers. ‘Are you wearing your life jacket?’, his speech-bubbled asked.
Next up was The Rip (‘Watch out for the fast current!’), where I rated the importance of things like teamwork, reliable income and creativity to my job. It was a refreshing sojourn into relevance, but shortlived: The Deep Sea was next. Grinning, Gus bobbed above the questions. ‘Sharks frequent this area!’, he cheerily informed. With leaden eyes, I turned to a third set of career-specific questions. Did I want to be a police officer, plummer or financial analyst, Gus queried?
My inner monologue was not kind.
Finally, I reached The Island, where – contrary to popular belief – Ewan McGreggor and Scarlett Johansson were not waiting to feed me intravenous nutrients, although I certainly could’ve done with some. Instead, I was asked to choose from five activities or short courses I would like to enroll in over the next 12 months. Options included Cake Decorating, Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Spirituality, although – alas! – not all three at once. I made my selection, tried not to think about the potentially curve-wrecking consequences of Spanish or pilates, and submitted.
Bizarrely, the fish-theme extended to the mini report. According to the six career profiles, I would be termed an Octopus (hands-on), Rainbow Trout (creative), Seal (analytical), Dolphin (social), Marlin (ambitious) or Sea Turtle (organised). Perhaps even stranger than these categories was the fact that their descriptions all hinged on character traits, something the test hadn’t even pretended to cover. Presumably, then, my personality was being retro-guessed from my job preference – pretty dicey stuff, given the early reference to Myers Briggs, but as a woman taking careers advice from a coastal Australian fish, I was clearly in no position to throw stones.
My hard efforts were rewarded with the label of Rainbow Trout. (Curiously, ticking ‘extremely uninterested’ for each question results in being called an Octopus, although it’s not clear on what grounds.) Thus satisfied, I dismissed Gus from my browser, opened and ignored the three emails Groper had sent me since logging on, and slipped back into reality, now firm in the belief that, when it comes to online tests, it’s best to employ a catch-and-release policy.
Still, the test wasn’t a total write-off. As a Rainbow Trout, I’m ideally suited for life as an original, autonomous, documentary-making florist, which sounds a whole lot better than admin assistant.
I wonder how that looks on a resume?