I’ll never pretend to be Mr. Handyman around the house (or car, or yard).
I’ve often wondered if it was because I was just lazy (that’s probably a big part of it), or if perhaps I just wasn’t meant to do that kind of work.
Well today I found my proof. I was going through some old records and I came across the results of my Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Test that I took over 40 years ago, while I was in high school.
Here’s a brief description (from the handout that accompanied these results) of what types of occupations are associated with each of the five aptitude areas:
- Electronics: computer systems, electrician, instrument work, lineman, radar repair, T.V. repair, electronic communications systems
- Motor Mechanical: aircraft mechanic (jet and reciprocating engines), diesel mechanic, automobile mechanic, heavy equipment operator, truck driver
- General Mechanical: air conditioning-heating, auto body work, blacksmith, carpenter, construction engineering, fireman, machinist, longshoreman, plumber
- Clerical Administration: accountant, clerk-typist, contract negotiator, legal clerk, real estate, religious work, recreation social worker
- General Technical: advertising, announcer, chemical work, draftsman, health care sciences, marine work, nuclear work, printer, veterinary work
If you look at my scores, you’ll notice that I scored a seven on General Mechanical. No wonder I was never any good with a hammer, drill, or screwdriver; the test picked up this lack of ability up while I was still in high school. I should have just kept this card in my wallet so that I would never be tempted to try and fix something around the house.
I still recall when I tried to put a new door on our bathroom. Everything went well until we realized the door was just a tad too tall because of the carpeting out in the hallway. So I took the door off and started to shave off a bit of the door. I put it back on the hinges, and it still got stuck on the rug. I repeated this process several times, until I realized that I had shaved so much off the bottom of the door that a baby could have crawled underneath the door. We kept it like that for several years.
But the people in the Armed Forces saw something like that coming long before it actually happened.
So I wasn’t meant to be a carpenter or a plumber or to do auto body work. Kind of bummed about the fireman thing though.
I apparently didn’t do so well on the Motor Mechanical part of the test either. Basically that’s my excuse for never having to open up the hood on any type of vehicle. It also looks like I’m not allowed to drive anything bigger than a minivan.
But then there are some categories I apparently have some aptitude for, particularly General Technical. Maybe if I had pursued it, I could have been the next Don Pardo.
My second strongest category was Clerical Administration, and surprise, that’s where we find Accounting! So once again, much like the results of the Kuder Occupational Interest Survey (which I shared here), these career-based tests seem to have done a pretty good job of predicting what career paths I was going to pursue later in life.
Some of the careers and groupings on the Armed Forces Aptitude Test seem a little dated or confusing. I don’t think I’ve seen a job called clerk-typist for quite a while. And are there still blacksmiths out there? Also, what exactly is radar repair?
But what I find most intriguing is the fact that a job in advertising requires the same sort of aptitude that would be required for doing chemical work. I can’t even imagine what those two career types might have in common, but whatever it is, apparently I’ve got it.
I also noticed that I seem to have the aptitude to be a recreation social worker – maybe that can be my second career. Let’s just hope no tools are required, for the sake of all involved.
P.S. The ASVAB is still going strong; if you’d like to read more about it, here’s the link.