Monday, September 11, 2006

Vocation

In my penultimate year of high school, our class was required to fill out one of those computer-generated “tests” that helped determine your propensity for certain vocations. It was a lengthy and arcane bit of business, and when the results were in the two most highly recommended vocations for yours truly were: #1) Floral Artistry, and #2) The Military.

Both options presented some serious drawbacks for this all-too-hetero all-too-Mennonite ploughboy. Fortunately(?), the test required an appointment with our school guidance counsellor, so I shuffled to his office with these results in hand, very much intent on getting genuine guidance.

He was a genial, relaxed man with a handlebar mustache. As we talked, he propped his feet on his desk and smiled at me. The first thing he said about my test results was, “These things aren't definitive in any way. At their best, they might provide some unusual possibilities you might not have considered before.” He looked at me, his smile very much fixed in place and growing creepier with each passing second.

“I dunno, man,” I said. “I mean, florist or soldier – either one seems like a stretch.”

That creepy smile. The feet on the desk, hands folded across his belly – and silence. “Your father's a pastor,” he finally said. “Have you given any consideration to the ministry?”

I stammered and said, No, not really.

“Well,” he said, his smile sinking deeper, taking on a knowing quality, “maybe you just haven't received The Call yet.”

This was a Mennonite high school I attended, and my father was a known entity. Even so, I was gobsmacked. A quarter-century later, I'm still non-plussed by his assertion. Of course, it could simply be a matter of my not receiving The Call ... yet.

Here's where I currently work:



Also here:



At Cafe Rhythm & Books I cook and serve the weekend breakfast menu (chiefly baked french toast, and an assortment of crepes). I do some organizing of the book selection. I'm hoping to launch my own book here, next month.

I'll leave it at that, for now. Lately I've been thinking a lot about vocation, so I'll try to hash out some of what I've considered, particularly as it relates to genealogy and social expectations (subjects with which I have more than a passing familiarity). And today, the fifth-year anniversary of when so many of our citizens were killed at their place of work, seems like an appropriate time to start.

15 comments:

Trent Reimer said...

Ha, those stupid forms generated income for somebody while offering nothing to the students. Just proves programmers are some of society's ultimate leaches. Your results are awesome. I was supposed to raise small animals.

As for the egg heads who made and administered those tests, in my experience I have found that common sense is often inversely proportionate to a person's level of education.

Trent Reimer said...

Have you heard the Call now? Just checking...

DarkoV said...

I believe Mr. Reimer (of the Trent variety goes not...far enough). My feelings about those results are that a general national conspiracy was/is in order. There are certain jobs that never receive enough applicants. By administering these tests to clueless teenagers, specifically boys high on testosterone, the conspiracy can aim these poor directionless folks in the general direction of those jobs that Mr. Joe Society needs to fill. Programmers shouldn't be blamed for this; they are merely pawns in the ......

How else to explain the disparate categories of Floral Artistry and The Military unless Joe Society is really thinging way ahead; a war death needs a flowery grave. But, that's truly morally sick.

My own suggestions? River boat captain and bricklayer. Floating and sinking seem to be my strengths.

DarkoV said...

...that should be thinking way ahead, not thinging way ahead.

Whisky Prajer said...

TR - man, you clearly read the writing on the wall!

dv - speaking of clairvoyance, I never made the floristry/military connection. Incredible.

Gideon Strauss said...

Isn't there at least one entire culture devoted to demonstrating that the arrangement of flowers is not necessarily foreign to the way of the warrior?!

I am looking forward to your further vocational ponderings - not so much for their outcome, though.

Cowtown Pattie said...

You could have gleaned as much information from those old Magic 8 balls - the ones with the little floating triangles that had goofy sayings like: "Answer unclear, ask again later", or "Don't bet on it", and even "Indications say yes".

Or maybe, randomly selecting a Necco conversation heart for the hidden message! Now, there's some science: "Kiss Me!", or "Be Mine!".

Remember, only YOU can put out Florists' Fires...

It's late - so sue me.

dan h. said...

If you ever decide you want the call, send me your phone number.
pd

Whisky Prajer said...

gs - perhaps I'll devote a future posting to "The Way of the Florist-Warrior (Florrior?)"

cp - I think the Magic 8 Ball and Necco Hearts should be utilized as appropriate tools of the trade for the high school guidance counsellor. So much cheaper, and more fun, than those wonky computer "tests".

Preacher Dan - that's it: I'm going unlisted! Word Verification: vafpk - "voluntarily a flippant pastoral kandidate"

Scott said...

How could anyone ever trust vocational tests after one told me I should be a cop?

Whisky Prajer said...

Sounds like someone in the programming industry would very much like to see a different type of person in uniform.

Scott said...

While keeping the peace is certainly an appealing notion, I think I'd make a too-polite policeman. I'm a dad at heart.

And I always think of Gore Vidal's creepily-accurate comment, "Give a sissy a gun and he'll kill anything that moves."

Ugh. No thanks!

Searchie said...

OK -- this is a long-buried secret fact about me: I used to be a flower arranger, and a good one, too.

I even used to arrange ... dare I say it ... silk flowers. *cough*

Whisky Prajer said...

"silk flowers" - yikes, this place has become a confessional!

Anonymous said...

I attended a Mennonite boarding (high) school forty years ago and have never yet even mentioned it on my blog. My feelings about those years are too complex to explain in a blog post or three. I'm surprised though that you had a guidance counselor and aptitude tests. We certainly didn't at our school.