20.1.06

FOCUS. The latest from Jay Mathews (via Joanne Jacobs) cites research suggesting that self-discipline and a willingness to defer gratification might better predict academic success than test scores. What was that line about plenty of geniuses on Skid Row?

Indirect confirmation comes from a recent communication to the operator of Rate Your Students, a service that generally provides the sick fascination that might draw a spectator to the race track in hopes of seeing a pileup. The communication comes from an academic administrator with extensive private sector experience.
I can give you plainly the view of a typical employer regarding new college grads: If you ask me stupid questions at work, questions whose answers are covered in the written material I gave you during orientation/training, I will assume you are a moron and not waste any further time with you. Your name will go to the top of the "budget cut" list, and you will get crap assignments until you can be unloaded. Welcome to life. There are no second chances. Have a lovely time.
Or, as the Grumpy Trainmaster might put it, "Let's discuss a different career." A quibble, however. At one time, the term "moron" referred to an individual who could carry out tasks that were well-defined and sequenced. As my first computer science professor taught me, a computer could be thought of as an electric moron. PROGRAM, MORON. The behavior the disgruntled employer is seeking might better be described by one of two World War II terms. Perhaps the new hire is a "rock" (See also "dumber than the average rock.") If the new hire combines excessive griping or malingering with being a rock, the term "sad sack" applies.

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