What types of people are likely to land in various kinds of office jobs?
I've devised a totally unscientific and untested "preference test" that just might reveal a few things about our perceptions and prejudices on this subject.
I want you to put aside your own inclinations and think instead about how others would answer. Presidents. Controllers. Middle management folks. People in various other slots.
What would each group prefer to do, given these sets of choices?
1. (a) Sing in a chorus. (b) Sell tickets for a concert. (c) Say yes. (d) Say no.
2. (a) Do finger painting. (b) Analyze statistics. (c) Say yes. (d) Say no.
3 (a) Be a gourmet cook. (b) Own a fast food franchise. (c) Say yes. (d) Say no.
4. (a) Be an inventor. (b) Be a general. (c) Say yes. (d) Say no.
5. (a) Play the horses. (b) Breed horses. (c) Say yes. (d) Say no.
6. (a) Write jokes. (b) Write marketing plans. (c) Say yes. (d) Say no.
7. (a) Do a crossword puzzle. (b) Prepare a budget. (c) Say yes. (d) Say no.
8. (a) Design houses. (b) Build houses. (c) Say yes. (d) Say no.
9. (a) Study history. (b) Make history. (c) Say yes. (d) Say no.
Unfortunately, or perhaps even fortunately, I don't really know the "right" answers, i.e., what the prevailing preferences of people in various job categories would be. But I'm positive of one thing: a lot of readers will disagree with some of my opinions on this.
I think that, in their hearts, controllers and treasurers would mostly answer "d" ("Say no"). They're retentive, custodial types. (How's that for prejudice?)
Some of you will probably categorize those who keep answering "c" ("Say yes") as middle managers. But I disagree. I don't think toadies get very far these days in the face of most companies' pressure for initiative and performance.
I suspect I'll find the greatest agreement about those who would consistently answer "a" -- writers, art directors, illustrators, R&D (research and development) people and others who lean towards the more "creative" occupations.
What about those who would lean strongly to the "b" answers, which I've obviously slanted towards practical, make-a-buck inclinations with some aggressiveness thrown in?
I can foresee a strong division of opinion here. I'm sure many will see them as typical chief executives. But not me. I think these are the middle- to upper-middle management people.
Then what about the presidents? The board chairmen?
I believe they'd be torn between the "a" and "b" answers. They'd answer some of each . . . or insist on giving two answers from some of the groupings . . . or reject the test for requiring some ridiculous choices.
In other words, I think that most outstandingly successful executives are much more of a blend of the "practical" and the "creative" . . . the managerial and the visionary . . . than we usually give them credit for.
I'm not sure I appreciated this so fully until I started to make up my little test and realized I couldn't pigeonhole a great executive.
As a matter of fact, I can't pigeonhole a great plumber, sales rep, secretary, accountant, writer, computer programmer or wife, either.
Maybe not even a good controller.