Alain de Botton, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work (q.v.), p. 126:

Two days later, my test results came back from Symons’s office in an exclusively bound [sic] folder designed to assert the importance of their conclusions. Held up against the subtletly [again sic] of the psychological exchanges I had observed between Symons and Carol…, the report felt like it had been written by a computer: “The candidate displays average abilities which would render him well-suited to a range of middle-ranking administrative and commercial posts,” the document began, before it singled out a particular talent for marketing and a weakness with numbers. “His future may lie in one of the following fields: Medical diagnostics, oil and gas exploration, or the leisure industry.”

I recognized my desire to submit to the report’s conclusions in the hope of quelling my doubts about my future.

Botton is the acclaimed author of seven books and the son of a Swiss billionaire.

At the same time, the report failed to inspire any real degree of confidence, and indeed, the more I dwel[led] on it, the more it seemed to signal some of the limits of career counselling as as whole. I thought again about the smells of cabbage and swede in Symons’s office.

This immigrant to the United Kingdom uses “swede” in its British sense of “rutabaga.”

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2009.07.03 11:47. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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