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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Fun and games

I spent yesterday in the company of some very smart people playing mind-stretching games. The event was held at the house of occasional commentors Marc and Joy, and I traveled down with local blogger and friend Jennifer D. Wade. (In her car, I should add. It is a rare treat for me to travel in a car as a passenger! This also enabled me to take a cell phone call which may result in future employment.) This was a Mensa event, and while I am not yet a member, I had a great time. The overall conclusions of the day, based on my performance:

- I have some artistic skill. I think we knew that. This may actually be a fundamental source of conflict when it comes to occupations where artistic skill is not considered an asset. On the other hand, being able to tell by inspection what a Control Chart is telling you is a far more valuable skill than wallowing in abstract numbers invalidly derived from that same data. (A note for anyone trying to impress anyone with a Capability study: the Capability of an out-of-control process does not exist. It may be nice to say "based on our CPK this process will only produce four parts in a billion that are out of spec", but if your process is showing unexplained, uncontrolled variation as indicated by its control chart and process-defined control limits, you do not have a controlled process and you cannot predict its future behavior, other than to say it will continue to behave unpredictably.)

- I am quite good at being able to communicate trivial information through clues, and to comprehend trivial information communicated through clues. Yes, I'm a walking trivia encyclopedia - with about 25% of the pages missing. I'm also an oral historian and keeper of institutional memory, both of which should be considered definite assets in any occupation where remembering the past - what worked, what didn't work, when similar problems were encountered, how they were dealt with, what the outcome was - is valued. The loss of institutional memory is one of the most traumatic effects of any reduction in force for a company. On the other hand, some companies prefer to start off with a blank slate periodically. We'll see how my previous employer deals long-term with this loss.

- I am OK at games involving strategic manipulation of three-dimensional abstract symbols.

- I suck at games involving cards and/or livestock. My sheep drowned, I ended up stuck with far too many Blockhead Bulls, and I only had a middling number of little rubber pigs at the end of the night.

All in all it was a great day. Beautiful weather, a nice drive down, a delicious lunch, great games, stimulating and energetic conversation, a delicious dinner, pleasant company, a great view of Venus and Saturn in the night sky, and an uneventful drive back. It's the sort of thing I think I need to do more often! Thanks, Joy, Marc, Jen, and everybody else!

2 comments:

joy said...

Harold...

Thanks so much for coming! Hope you'll come again (soon!)so we can test your skills at making pizza, working in a fast food restaurant and killing French noblemen! And I'm sure you'd excell at patching holes in the Space-Time Continuum and resolving the resultant paradoxes. Surely there will be job opportunities for you in at least one of those myriad fields. But I do suggest you avoid jobs dealing with livestock :-) joy

Domestic Zookeeper said...

omg! you got back in the passenger seat! That's Brave!! *wink*