Sunday, October 28, 2007

Personality Test

Personality Test

Zachary Scott-Singley

In my time I have taken many personality tests, but none affected me as much as the one I took when trying to become a police officer in 2006. I passed of course and was asked to interview, but by that time (it took almost 4 months to respond to my test) I had already taken another job which was my first choice to begin with) where I currently work. I also took a personality test for this paper and was not surprised by my results. Through my constant writings I have become fairly aware of how I operate and so my results from the Personality Test were not incredible or surprising to me. In the test I was rated as:

Openness to Experience/Intellect- You are relatively open to new experiences. (Your percentile: 76) Conscientiousness- You are well organized, and are reliable. (Your percentile: 69) Extraversion- You are extremely outgoing, social, and energetic. (Your percentile: 96) Agreeableness- You find it easy to express irritation with others. (Your percentile: 38) Neuroticism- You probably remain calm, even in tense situations. (Your percentile: 9)

That was mostly for your sake, but for mine I would like to discuss my police personality test I took for the Portland Oregon police force. It was both an intelligence test as well as a personality test and for me the questions (which were often re-stated in different ways) were much more interesting than the hundredth intelligence test I had taken… I found it interesting (and often wondered what it said about me) when they would ask on the form what you like (colors for instance) or questions like, “Do rainy days make you feel sad? Yes or no?” These questions which probably were placed in to measure your emotional stability were very interesting to me and I found myself thinking as I took the test that I would very much like to have been able to see the police’s assessment of my personality. They called me back for an interview, so I must have been fairly stable (or perhaps just the right amount of unstable for the job) and were very disappointed when I told them that I had taken a job with someone else.

The one question which I found alarming though was the one asking if I had killed anyone. It was probably in the test to see if they could weed out potential felons from the police but I was probably the only one out of the one hundred or so of us who had to answer yes that day. I had killed someone, many someones in fact. We were not to get up for any reason during this test, but I raised my hand and when an attractive young police woman came to ask me if I needed help I asked her if I would be disqualified for answering yes to that question. I explained that my platoon and I had been responsible for over 190 confirmed kills based on our intelligence and that I had shot people as well while deployed in Iraq. She had grown pale as I told her this, but she answered that she was not quite sure; according to what she knew as long as it stated I was a combat veteran (which I did) on my test that it would simply be covered if and when they decided to interview me.

It has always been hard for me to answer that question. Many times (especially when I tell teenagers, who seem to be the only ones uncouth enough to ask) when I explain that I have been to Iraq (twice) people ask me if I had to kill anyone. They ask with the morbid fascination of one who hates the idea of it but who still wants to know every sick and twisted detail. I have gotten good at answering this question. I look them dead in the eyes and tell them, “Yes, I have killed. I killed over 190 people.” I continue to look at them almost daring them to judge my stone cold face as I state the large number. They are always the first to look away. After that the questions are focused elsewhere and life goes on…


Anonymous said...

I like the way you handled that situation: verbally straight forward and factual, and using your face and body language to get your point accross.
It's so nice to know you got the job you wanted and you and Tara and the kids have a new home.
You're so deserving, and hardworking.
Kate M.

fjb said...

My son (16) asked a friend's fiance, who was home after his second tour, this question. Before Blair could answer, I clipped the little monster up the back of the head and asked him if he would ever ask his grandfather or two great-uncles that question. Shame faced, he said no.

Anonymous said...

When I returned home from Vietnam in 1969, the "did you killed anyone" question got inserted into virtually every conversation, once the other person became aware that I'd been there. I started counting how quickly it was asked, and it was mostly within the first three questions. From my brother's girlfriend to family acquaintances, didn't matter. I was in the infantry, what did they think we did? And like you, I would watch their eyes when I answered. Mostly, I think they asked for the same reason people slow down to look at bloody auto accidents. It was a cheap thrill, but they had no context about what happened or why.
Your views on your experience will likely change with the years. Those who served with you will probably mean more to you with the passage of time. I hope you will be proud of your service. The soldier doesn't make the policies, but pays the price. There is honor in the willingness to put your life on the line for a principle and for strangers, regardless of what you might feel about the political decisions that put you there.
Welcome home!

Anonymous said...

sarge, you are mah he ro; cannon fodder and defending your masters to the end. thanks for looking me in the eye.

kev said...

hey outstanding journal or what ever this is. im 16 turning 17 over the summer and plan on joining the service. my reqruiter told me that if i join when i plan on joining that after i go to boot camp and AIT, my unit will be going straight to baghdad about 1 week after i get out and get all settled in. he asked me if id be ok killing any one and i didnt know what to say...he said the reason why he was asking was that i was going infantry, and thats probably more than likley what ill be doing within the first week. i mean im all up for serving my country and fighting for our nation, but the thought that im going to come face to face with some one that doesnt even know me but wants me dead only becuase of who i am and what i stand and fight for...truely in all honesty im friggen scarred. already this war is traumatizing me and im not even close to going to iraq yet. my step-dad is a veteran of the war in iraq and hes shared some stories that on each occasion i heard them i had startling nightmares of haunting proportions, and with the fact that ive seen him have flashbacks and seen his PTSD at its peak...ive seen nobody or anything benifit from this war. but still i have a sense of duty, this war has become personal in so many ways. freinds i love... gone and never returning, the once lovable step father i once had, i feel like its my turn to participate in the defending of our freedom so that we can live in a peaceful world...or die fighting for one. i would like to ask you a few questions...some personal,(about your service, of course), about alot of things in regards to how the war has effected you and a few others. any advise you can share, any help you may offer would be graciously appreciated. thank you and by the way awesome job with this website journal thing. you can reach me at my email at or you can contact me on ... i hope to hear more from you. highest regards and a sharp salute.

Rec. K.Nieves USMC