A bit steamed

I'm a bit steamed after being told I failed a screening test on the Java language. The employer shall remain nameless. But I wanted to recount some interesting thoughts about this.

First, getting steamed is never the right move. It might be understandable, even expected, but it's wrong. At the very least it makes life momentarily unpleasent for the irritated person.

I got steamed because I was told I had to do "a little better" before I would be considered for the position. In other words, I failed. It never feels good to fail, and I think I was partly angry over that simple fact. But...

This test was extremely odd. It tested very edge-casey aspects of the Java language and Java Virtual Machine. It tested wierd stuff that I've never had reason to look at. Interesting stuff.

Interesting yes, but useful in picking out "senior Java developers?" I have my doubts, and that's another reason why I got steamed - thatI failed a test that didn't measure what the position actually requires.

Of course, that is the folly of the employer, not me. So why should I be steamed?

Really, it's because I don't like to fail, because I don't want to see myself as a failure. I am attached to my image as a senior Java developer, and if someone says that's not what I am, then I get angry at that someone and suggest there is something wrong with *them*.

This is not uncommon, or unusual, but it is unhealthy. Let's say that they are wrong: it does much less good to point out a flaw in anger than to point out a flaw with a genuine spirit of helpfulness and dare I say, humility.

What I would like is for a developer from that employer to contact me and explain how the knowledge tested is applicable in a real-world situation. That would be very useful to me, because, astonishingly, there might be real gaps in my knowledge that might impact the quality of my work. And if there is no such explaination (which I strongly suspect!) then I know that there is something amiss with the nameless employer, and not with me. In any event there is no occasion for anger.

Lessons learned: it hurts to be humble, it takes control, but do it anyway. Humility is especially powerful when you are right. Anger, even (especially?) rightous anger, is never useful. It blinds you to oppurtunities in an otherwise unwanted situation.

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