But You Can’t Fail This Kind Of Test by Rick Hartwell

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But You Can’t Fail This Kind of Test

Many years ago, in high school, I failed the Kuder Career Interests Assessment. For those unfamiliar with this counseling tool, it contained questions such as: Would you rather drive a garbage truck or work in an office? (I opted for the garbage truck); or, Would you rather hike out-of-doors or be a mechanic? (I opted for the outdoors.) I assume that the theory behind these varied questions was that your answers could be categorized into sections of certain employment
classifications. Thus, a counselor could assist you in identifying a college major or real-world employment or to answer the question: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Well, I failed the test! It seems my varied responses canceled out one another and it couldn’t be determined what, if anything, I should become; all assuming that I would grow up. I was accused of purposely circumventing the test. From my point-of-view, I had answered each question faithfully to my seventeen-year-old worldview. From the counselor’s point-of-view, it was just another example of my ongoing social maladjustment. Another detention was administered for my presumed recalcitrance. I am not certain if I ever served all of them by the time of

So, how did that all work out? What did I do on my way to growing up? Of many sundry jobs, I have been: a carpenter’s apprentice; a hog farm hand; a dairy ranch hand; a plywood mill worker (twice): a gas station attendant (it took them three days to fire me!); a real estate messenger; a plastics shift supervisor; an infantryman, legal clerk, legal clerk instructor, and a legal administrative technician (in the Army, three times for twelve-and-a-half years!); a telecommunications supervisor and manager (three times, sixteen years); a middle school language arts teacher (five schools, twenty years); and, a retired senior citizen (twelve years, so far). Somehow I completed seven years’ of college as well.

All-in-all perhaps that high school counselor was right and I just failed myself through life as most of us do. I am scheduled to take a senior citizen driver’s license test in the near future. I think I will study for this one.

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher (remember the hormonally-challenged?) living in California with his wife of forty-seven years, Sally (upon whom he is emotionally, physically, and spiritually dependent), two grown children, two granddaughters, and fifteen cats! Like Blake, Thoreau and Merton, he believes that the instant contains eternity.

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