A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn't feel like it.
- Alistair Cooke
You moon the wrong person at an office party and suddenly you're not "professional" any more.
- Jeff Foxworthy
This is a forwarded message.
Are You a Professional?
The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and tells whether you are qualified to be a professional. Scroll down for each answer. (The questions are not that difficult.)
1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
Correct answer: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe and close the door.
This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.
2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
Wrong Answer: Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant and close the refrigerator.
Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door.
This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your actions.
3.The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend except one. Which animal does not attend?
Correct Answer: The Elephant. The Elephant is in the refrigerator.
This tests your memory.
OK, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your abilities.
3. There is a river you must cross, but it is inhabited by crocodiles. How do you manage it?
Correct Answer: You swim across. All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting.
This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.
According to Andersen Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the professionals they tested got all four questions wrong but many preschoolers got several correct answers. Andersen Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most professionals have the brains of 4-year-olds.
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The bottom four sites above are all elsewhere in this section if you really like taking tests. In other sections are:
A Professional's Opinion
Opinionated - and Proud to Admit It
by Stephen Bayley
I love opinions so much, I keep on having more of them. The famous Telegraph journalist Colin Welch had lots, too. His critics called him "viewy", a term that cheered him greatly. Interesting opinions are surprisingly rare so, when the timorous come across them, they are often alarmed. That rarity has real value. Yet although opinions are valuable, they can be disturbing. The best ones almost certainly are.
But how odd that to be called "opinionated" is to be insulted. It's always happening to me. Some years ago, I expressed unpolitical views about the dire practical and æsthetic deficiencies of a candidate for an award in the Design Council's Millennium Products scheme that I was judging, along with a lot of po-faced high-ups. Someone said, "That's just your opinion," as if to undermine my credibility. So I explained that my opinion was based on a lifetime's experience of looking at things. Of course, this is a posture that threatens rudely to disturb the ripple-free pool of consensus that surrounds polite - or politically ambitious - people.
The academic and literary critic George Steiner is also a man of strong opinions. Explaining why he knew his subject better than others, Steiner wrote a bravura sentence designed to lose him what few friends he might have had among the legions of limp, multicultural relativists who inhabit Britain's universities, "The difference between the judgment of a great critic and that of a semi-literate censorious fool lies in its range of inferred or cited reference, in the lucidity and rhetorical strength of articulation or in the accidental addendum which is that of a critic who is a creator in his own right."
Steiner, a Jew, also cheerfully trod in the dangerous territory between fact and opinion when he once pointed out that no worthwhile mathematical discovery has been made by a native of sub-Saharan Africa. He thus made the direct link between opinions and outrage all too clear for the faint-hearted. But the truth is that opinions require knowledge and a quest for knowledge is a defining characteristic of civilisation. Yet total knowledge, let alone complete understanding, always escapes us; it is an elusive destination.
Gustave Flaubert made this subject his own more than a hundred years ago, when he compiled his Dictionnaire des Idées Reçues (A Dictionary of Platitudes). His intention was to satirise the lazy, conventional, conformist ideologues of his day. He soon realised the problems of cataloguing opinions. The whole process involves corrosive reflections that can be intellectually and physically exhausting. Trying to catalogue opinions was a disturbingly ambiguous intellectual adventure which drove Flaubert to moan: "Je doute de tout, même mon doute" (I doubt everything, even my doubt).
There are perhaps three types of opinion. The first is the educated man's opinion that certain popular beliefs are stupid. The second is the sort that drove Flaubert to near madness, the opinion that certain original thoughts are stupid. Third, there is the conventional "wisdom" about what is correct.
Opinions flourish only in periods or cultures without a dominant religion. A medieval monk in his Cluniac abbey or a contemporary mullah in his mosque and, indeed, a fine Victorian gentleman, had little use for original opinions. The collective opinions of religion are inflexible dogma, not interesting expressions of private thought. The best opinions are contrarian, not conformist, although that is in itself a matter of opinion.
It is this irreverent quality that attracted Flaubert, the perpetual adolescent. And it was for the same reason that the Duke of Wellington disapproved of his soldiers cheering because this was very nearly an expression of a personal opinion and, by suggestion, insubordination or even mutiny.
Great minds think alike and fools, it is said, never differ. That is a collective opinion. But in my opinion, it is wrong: the fact is, great minds are almost always singular. Alexander Pope's "confederacy of dunces" slipped easily into the language, rather suggesting a general acknowledgement that stupidity is commonplace. Certainly that was what Flaubert believed as he battled against the entrenched boorishness of the middle-classes, with their platitudes and their dull, unathletic minds. Better be mentally fit and jump to conclusions.
We have some great opinion-makers today, but they are not politicians. Politicians are too timid. Instead, the statesmen of ideas who metabolise our lives are the talented misfits who sit more comfortably outside the system. Will Self is an example. Self once told me that love and sex have only a vicarious relationship. It is fine, he said, to have sex with someone you hate. In Self's opinion, the only sin is to be indifferent to your sexual partner.
And then, of course, there is John Mortimer, our national living treasure, a rich source of humane, life-enhancing opinions. Mortimer should have his own radio channel and broadcast his endearing opinions on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness 24-7. He should be the National Curriculum.
Among women, business and the media are better incubators of opinion than the universities (where proper academic conventions and improper fashionable fallacies combine to inhibit free expression of interesting ideas). The slightly dotty Anita Roddick is one of our very best opinion-makers, a reminder that success often reveals infirmities that failure would allow to remain hidden. And then there is the divine Nigella who has forged an intellectual relationship between fairy cakes and lascivious eroticism at least as odd - and as compelling - as Roddick's association of foot-balm with environmental awareness.
Opinions make you think, or at least stop you being stupid. Or perhaps, less charitably, help to disguise it. Certainly, whatever the interpretation, they provide comfort. Sometimes, passionately held opinions are stupid ones. But Wittgenstein believed that
if people never did stupid things, nothing intelligent would ever happen.
In this sense, human progress depends on the continuing practice of forming opinions. So progress, or at least a form of it, is assured. And so it is enchanting to consider the etymology of "idiot". Nowadays meaning someone of deficient intellect, it originally meant an independent person with ideas of his own. So if you are idiotic, you are civilised. Some may find that a challenging opinion.
Stephen Bayley is the author of A Dictionary of Idiocy (Gibson Square Books)
Source: arts.telegraph.co.uk 1 December 2003
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Source: dullmen.com The Dull Men's Site - not really dull at all - they thanked to Sam Bali for sending this to them)
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