Are you left or right brained? Which Frozen character are you? ISTJ? Myers-Briggs? Wait, who is Carl Jung? Are you just a Hagrid in a Hermione world?
If you haven’t noticed the Buzzfeed quizzes plaguing your Facebook timeline as of late, you’ve at least had your share of personality tests doled out by past middle school teachers or camp counselors.
I was given my first career aptitude test in the seventh grade. It said I would really thrive in masonry. Yes, a bricklayer (I won’t even try to make a joke here about the 12 percent decline in journalism jobs every year).
I don’t want to diminish the accuracy of these tests. There are decades of studies and psychologists backing them (excluding Buzzfeed). My friends and I love taking them, then pretending to be psychologists ourselves.
No matter how far-fetched or too-close-to-home the results of these quizzes and tests are, we keep taking them – but why? In hopes that some computer algorithm can use our likes and dislikes to tell us something we didn’t know about ourselves?
I think it’s about more than just seeking some introspection. We like them because they slice a complicated world into tiny parts. It’s more comfortable to face our faults when they’re chalked up to our God-given personality traits. Reducing complicated relationships to six movie characters makes them easier to swallow. And it’s easier for someone to tell me I should be a bricklayer than to chase a crazy, improbable dream job.
Ideally, you could match yourself to the right job and the right people, all from the comfort of your own computer screen. Why should you have to wade through all the bad ones first? Alas, life is harder than a personality test. It’s also a lot more accurate.