Early in 1996 I was in the process of leaving the army, and as part of that I attended a trainee management college as a guinea pig for human resource managers. I saw it as a way of getting an idea of what I needed to do to prepare myself for civvie street and I got paid a small amount for the pleasure, so it was a case of adapt, modify and overcome.
On my first day there I was required to complete a psychometric test, I had never even heard of one let a lone know what to do with it, anyway I sat down to answer the questions some of which were based on managing budgets. I had never managed a budget before so I really had no idea what to do, and in terms of maths I am pretty thick, so I decided to change the rules instead of money I inserted people instead for example. I took fifty guys to the gulf came back with fifty, I am in profit.
The following week, when I went back for the next lot of scenarios they had planned for their trainee managers, the lady in charge of that course came up to me and said “Mr McMullan I need you to change five of your answers, because the computer could not profile you” I looked at her and smile with the reply “Sweetheart the army have been trying to profile me for the last twenty two years without success why should you computer be any different”.
I did as she asked, and over the course of the next few weeks the trainee managers became interested in my style of man management and during the breaks they would be asking me about my experiences. Then on one of these days the same lady came to me again and asked me why was I there, I said it was a way of understanding what would be required of me when it came time to look for a job myself. She told me to leave and to never come back.
I guess she was unhappy because I used my initiative and was adapting, modifying and overcoming. I thought at the time, is this not what employers are looking for, people you can think through problems and deal with them by using their initiative?
Ah well it was fun while it lasted.