Re: GPA on Resume: School versus the World

Subject: Re: GPA on Resume: School versus the World
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 08:14:00 EST

>I also understand that employees can sometimes put out better manuals by
>ignoring company objectives and deadlines and searching earnestly for the
>truth. Employees who dare to do this are a great asset, but they can also
>get you into a lot of trouble if you don't have a clear sense of when you
>can or can't count on them.

>When it comes down to the day-to-day business of running a business, you
>want to feel that your employees understand and accept your goals and
>priorities, and that they can get the job done. The last I knew, GPA is a
>reasonably good (not perfect) predictor of this sort of employee behavior.

Permit me to weigh in again, Richard.

My objective when hiring a contractor or employee isn't to find someone who
will just accept my goals and priorities. That I can feel in the interview,
or I can instill. And if a hard case slips through, I can find it out and
dismiss her.

Far more important and difficult to find are creativity, courage,
innovation. I sense from your message that you are making an a priori
asssumption that the GPA is important, the higher the better. I maintain
that a high GPA must be coupled to other factors to be important. If I need
creative mathematicians, I might well hire your friend who neglected his
assignments because he found them stupid. If he were a true genius, and I
needed genius, his GPA is irrelevant. Reference Einstein's math scores, or
Picasso's art grades.

Passivity and compliance I can find in abundance. Those attitudes lead to
the "do anything the client wants so long as we get paid" point of view. I
prefer some backbone in our people. Not abrasiveness. Courage.

In point of fact, I suspect that I might well hire someone who told me
frankly that "I cheated to get my 4.0. I cheated because I was creative and
I already knew the material, but wanted an edge. Here's how I did it..." If
I was convinced that it arose from intelligence and "non-linear" thinking, I
might take him on, just to harness his creativity. Too often, a GPA alone is
a sign of too much Yin, a willingness to simply sit and absorb. I prefer the
outlook that the aging Captain Kirk expressed during one of the early Star
Trek movies, after it was revealed that he was the only cadet ever to
survive a simulation test at Star Fleet, and that he'd secretly rigged the
test..."I don't believe in no-win situations."

Tim Altom
Vice President
Simply Written, Inc.
Technical Documentation and Training
Voice 317.899.5882
Fax 317.899.5987

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