Podcast

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Johnson O'Connor: Finding Your Purpose

How to discover, empirically, what fulfills you
Saturday, November 7, 2015, 3:33 PM

What should I do with my life?

As existential questions go, this one's a biggie. Each of us, to varying extents, continually wrestles with answering it as we make our way in the world.

But tackling such a big question is really hard, and often overwhelming for most of us. How do we know where to start? How do we know what we truly enjoy? What we're truly good at?  What truly fulfills us?

Having solid, science-based data points to help guide us in our our exploration and decision making would sure be useful. Especially with the big decisions, like what to study in school, what type of career path to choose, and how to play to our strengths in what we do.

The good news is: there are testing services out there designed to offer such help. As many of you know, I went through a fairly radical career transition when leaving my executive job at Yahoo! to partner up with Chris and co-found Peak Prosperity. The insights I learned from these testing services were instrumental in giving me the clarity and the confidence to take such a non-traditional jump.

And no test was more valuable to me than the aptitudes test offered by the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation. Here's what I had to say about it in my book Finding Your Way To Your Authentic Career:

I have to spend a moment here discussing the Johnson O’Connor test. Yes, this test is significantly more expensive than the others. But in my experience, it was the single most useful test I took during my transition.

In the 1920s, Johnson O’Connor was commissioned by General Electric (GE) to develop an aptitude test that could match its employees with work for which they were innately fit.  Back then, an employee often spent their entire career at the company, and GE leadership hoped to get better performance if employee talent was better matched to its nature.

The tests O’Connor created worked extremely well. Later, in the 1930s, he created the precursor to the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation (JOC), which has been administering and improving the tests ever since.

What I like about this approach is that it is extremely data-driven, and they have been iterating it for almost a century. Hundreds of thousands of subjects have gone through this process over the decades, enabling JOC to refine procedure to the point where the results are extremely predictive relative to competing methods.

The testing process consists of 6 hours of exercises designed to empirically score your natural ability across a number of specific skills. These exercises are wide-ranging; some are conceptual, some manual, some visual, some musical…some you have no clue at the time what they may be testing…

But after your 6 hours, you then have a 1.5 hour session with a specialist who synthesizes the output from your results.  I found this extremely helpful, as have the people who initially put this test on my radar. While the JOC folks don’t promise you’ll have an ‘epiphany moment’, your odds are pretty good here. The goal of this exit consultation is to make sure you have a rock-solid understanding of the attributes that will most determine your career success and happiness. The researchers also do their best to help you identify potential professions or industries that are well-suited to your specific profile. So you leave the experience armed with bedrock insights about yourself, along with one or more paths to go explore.

There are JOC testing facilities in many major US cities. So if you decide you want to take the exam, you should be able to find a center within driving distance.

I've been long interested in conducting a deep-dive into the Johnson O'Connor approach for the Peak Prosperity audience, and am excited to finally be able to offer one now. I think the material here is especially worthwhile for parents of teens, college students, those considering making a career change, and folks approaching retirement.

Click the play button below to listen to my interview with Steve Greene of the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation (43m:18s):

Transcript: 

Adam Taggart: Hello and welcome to the Resilient Life podcast. Resilient Life of part of PeakProsperity.com. It is where we focus on practical and actionable knowledge for building a better future. I am your host, Adam Taggart. At Peak Prosperity, we talk a lot about the dynamic of living two lives where many of us trudge through a work day characterized by dissatisfaction and unfulfillment. And only in the privacy of our personal lives after work is done and the kids are in bed, we attempt to squeeze a few minutes of time in focusing on the priorities that are personally meaningful for us. Does that sound like you? If so, you are not alone.

Study after study shows that well over 70 percent of workers are actively dissatisfied with their jobs and with the work that life had steered them into. But what if it did not have to be this way? What if the work you did on a daily basis was aligned with your values, your passions and your natural strengths? What if you looked forward to each new work day with a sense of excitement and gratitude? How much better would your life be from where it is today? If this sounds compelling to you, then listen on.

As many Peak Prosperity readers know, five years back I went through my own career transition from a successful yet unhappy role as a Silicon Valley executive to entrepreneur and proud co-founder of Peak Prosperity. My only regret about the transition is not making it sooner.

Out of the success of that experience, I wrote the book “Finding Your Way to Your Authentic Career” to serve as a guidebook for others wrestling with the desire to make such a large career move, but anxious about the risks. In that book, I emphasize the importance of beginning the process with self-understanding. All of your plans will be based off of your hopes, goals and capabilities.

The single greatest resource I encountered in developing an accurate self-understanding was the aptitudes testing offered by the Johnson O’Connor Foundation. And today, we are joined by Steve Greene, the Director of Public Relations of John O’Connor. In addition, he is also the director of the New York office. And he has been an employee of the foundation since 1987. I am excited to share the science behind the Johnson O’Connor testing process with our listeners. Steve, thank you so much for joining me today.

Steve Greene: Oh, it is a pleasure. I am delighted to be here. Thank you, Adam.

Adam Taggart: Well Steve, you heard my introduction there of what a big believer I am in the impact that the testing that Johnson O’Connor offers can have on people’s lives. A lot of the people I talk to about this do not realize that Johnson O’Connor was actually a real man. And maybe we could start with you giving just a little bit of background on how the Johnson O’Connor testing process came to be.

Steve Greene: Sure, absolutely. I think a common misconception is that Johnson and O’Connor are two different people and those are the last names. He was actually one person. His first name was Johnson. His last name was O’Connor. And he was our founder. He was a Harvard educated mathematician and philosopher. And after graduating from Harvard, he conducted research in astronomical mathematics with Percival Lowe who was in his time very influential and famous astronomer. And he then went on to work in electrical engineering at General Electric.

In 1922 at General Electric, he was asked by his supervisor, a man named S.T. Cox, to develop an in-house project which came to be known as the Human Engineering Lab. Its goal was to match employees up to work that suited your natural abilities so that you could run more efficiently. So this led O’Connor into the study of inborn aptitudes or natural abilities. So based on empirical research, he developed a number of classifications of specific human abilities, which came to be called things like structural visualization, conductive reasoning, ideaphoria and so on.

In 1939, O’Connor broke away from General Electric. Based on the success of his testing program, he realized it was much more important and maybe larger than something used just for industrial screening. And he formed the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation, an establishment that is a not for profit scientific and educational research organization.

Today, we have grown to a national organization with 11 locations spread out throughout major cities. And we measure about 22 different aptitudes that combine like molecules to form chemical reactions. So what we are looking at is the combination of the low, average and high scores. We use that to guide people towards appropriate careers and educational paths. In addition to aptitudes, we measure English vocabulary, which is knowledge and therefore can be acquired. We believe vocabulary can be one of the best predictors of educational and occupational success.

In studies we conducted, we found that those who rose to high level in a variety of fields tended to possess superior vocabularies. So in addition to measuring people’s innate abilities, we also measured their vocabularies levels and educate them on effective ways to build vocabularies as well.

Adam Taggart: Great. One of the things that I really love about the genesis of all this was (and correct me if I am describing this the wrong way) GE was I think wise enough back in the 1920’s to realize look, we were – back then you would get hired by GE straight out of school. And you would pretty much work most of your career there, right, or all your career there.

Steve Greene: Right.

Adam Taggart: And their thought process was if we can figure out what a given worker is uncommonly good at, what he is better at than most other people and craft a path for him in his career here at the company, we are going to get the best work out of that person.

Steve Greene: Absolutely.

Adam Taggart: He is going to be playing to his strengths. And he is also probably going to be most fulfilled. So he is going to get the most out of it as well.

Steve Greene: That is right. It is also a good way to retain employees for a long period of time.

Adam Taggart: Right. That makes a lot of sense.

Steve Greene: Basically, that was a very visionary concept back then and it led to the genesis of what later on came to be called the field of positive psychology.

Adam Taggart: Well clearly, I think it makes a lot of intuitive sense. And from the science side of things what I love about it is it is extraordinarily data driven. And you talked about the empirical background that Johnson O’Connor had. But it is really all about testing, measurement and looking for correlation. And the fact that it has been running I mean now getting close to a full century….

Steve Greene: Yes.

Adam Taggart: I do not know if you have a sense of how many people have gone through the tests. But I imagine it has got to be at least in the hundreds of thousands.

Steve Greene: We believe it is close to one million.

Adam Taggart: Right.

Steven Greene: Over one-half million people have gone through the testing. We believe it is probably – we have not kept exact numbers. But we believe it is probably close to one million.

Adam Taggart: All right. So this was sort of a statistician’s fantasy, right. I mean you have got just a massive sample size.

Steve Greene: Yes. I think scientists really celibate over our database when they hear about the number of cases we have.

Adam Taggart: Right, which again I can understand. But what that means for the individual test taker, it means that the predictability or the predictive nature of their results, you can have an extremely high degree of competence in because the sample size is so high.

Steve Greene: Yes. One of the determining factors in whether a test becomes part of our battery is whether or not it has a high reliability. And reliability means that you are going to get an accurate score throughout your life. It is not going to change much over time. So the thing that is very helpful about knowing about one’s aptitude is that they remain relatively stable over time so people can refer back to this to help them make decisions in the future.

Adam Taggart: Yeah, we will talk a little bit more about this in the future in the podcast. But I have had that while Johnson O’Connor does not like people who have taken the test to come back at a later stage in life if they want to and take the test. They do not really stress it that much because the results tend to be so consistent over time.

Steve Greene: That is exactly right. What we do is we take the opportunity when clients come back for follow up sessions. People come back again sometimes 20 years – 30 years later to review their results. At that point, we are always updating test – re test reliability studies on a particular test. So we use that opportunity as a test – re test reliability study.

Adam Taggart: Great. All right. So just closing my summary here. The way I think of the Johnson O’Connor test, it is a way for people to get a very empirical data driven quantitative understanding of where they excel in their natural aptitudes versus the general population. And this plays into the whole play to your strengths type of strategy when it comes to a career.

Steve Greene: Yes. Yeah. That is a very good synopsis in what we do. Even the ancient Greeks believed in the concept of gnothi seauton, know thyself.

Adam Taggart: Know thyself, yeah.

Steve Greene: And we offer objective information about one’s natural talent that can just help us make wise choices about school work and hobbies.

Adam Taggart: Exactly. The way I describe it, it is one of those garbage in – garbage out equations. Meaning you are going to be making – we are talking here about the career side of things. Then we can talk in a bit about some of the benefits to other aspects of life. But if you are basically using data points to base decisions off of, if you have got bad or faulty data points, you get bad or faulty decisions. And what I think your testing does is gives people a very accurate, very high confidence points so that they can be making very accurate, very high confidence decisions.

Steve Greene: Yeah, absolutely. There is no such thing as a one hundred percent error free measurement. But our measurements are as measurements go, quite reliable and valid. And just for my experience here over the last almost 30 years, I found anecdotally this has helped people really change the direction of their lives or continue forward with enhanced confidence and motivation.

Adam Taggart: Yeah. And I mentioned in the introduction that it is very common out there for people to be frustrated about where they are in life career wise. And I mean a huge part of that is it is a fault I think of our education system. But we do not spend any time with people through the formal education process helping them zero in on these attributes and then mapping them to their interests, their passions and things like that. We just cram a bunch of learning in their head and hope the light bulb is going to go off at some point. They are going to have an epiphany. And that happens with a rare minority of people.

Steve Greene: Yes.

Adam Taggart: And so what happens is people get stuck in a job or whatever. Usually, they wake up in their 30’s or 40’s after they have been in it for a decade or two and think gosh, I really wish I were not here. It would not have been what I picked for myself now that I know myself a little bit better. But boy, I do not know what I would do next. Or I do not have the confidence that if I try something that I think might be better suited for me that it is going to work out. And while there are no guarantees in life, what I love about the Johnson O’Connor test is it really helps cut through that uncertainty, those big existential questions about what is my purpose? What should I do with my life? It really helps you understand. It does not necessarily give you the exact answer that you should do exactly this. But it says that the work you do or the things that you engage in need to have these elements in them for you to either be fulfilled or frankly be good at them.

Steve Greene: Yes.

Adam Taggart: And I think it is that ability to kind of cut through a lot of the uncertainty that I found so powerful. It gives answers that help people really focus their priorities and to begin to be able to make decisions. It certainly did for me. So it sounds like you agree with that general outlook on it. But a higher level, I mean what are the benefits that the test offers? When people are coming into your office, what are they looking for and what do you see as the right type of person to be looking to engage with the Johnson O’Connor test?

Steve Greene: Well that is a good question. As I mentioned before, just the concept of gnothi seauton means most people will benefit from enhanced knowledge of themselves. And we offer people objective information about their talents that can help them as early as age 14. That is the youngest that we test people. We feel that is kind of a safe age where aptitudes of gelled in. We can measure them with confidence. So about one-half of our clients are between the ages of 14 and 21. They are primarily students who are trying to figure out what college to go to, what to major in, what different courses, eventually what career path to head in to.

The other half of our clients are everyone older than that. And many of them are recent graduates. And there is something called the quarter life crisis where people in their mid-20’s realize that the career that they initially thought was going to be a fit for them is not a fit. And they are in a panic mode. And they come in for testing just to kind of get back on track. And then we have older working adults who are either trying to fine tune their career path or are very unhappy and want to do something completely different. And we even get people who are well on in their careers thinking about second careers or even retirement and how to plan out their retirement years. And some people just come in not necessarily to change their careers, but just to pursue satisfying avocations.

Adam Taggart: Yeah. And one of the things that I realized about the insights is even if you do not change your career or the things you are engaged in radically that better self-understanding is still extremely applicable to your current career or your current position. It is really sort of a catalyst I guess. So it can be a catalyst for excelling in the current vector you are on or it can be a good catalyst for change.

Steve Greene: Yes, yes, very well said. And some of the clients we have are not in a position where they are able to throw away the career path they have been on. They may have a mortgage and kids and college and financially they are wearing golden handcuffs. But it can also help them find ways to make what they are doing better, a better fit. Maybe they realize hey, they are really good at coming up with a rabbit full of ideas. They can start an in-house newsletter or train people in their division. Or maybe they will find satisfying avocations to use those. And then, of course, we have people do make huge career changes even later on in their careers.

I had one business executive who went back to medical school in his late 30’s. And then went on to a satisfying medical practice for about ten years and then changed again back to a medical corporation becoming the CEO. So there are lots of stories of people making huge changes. And there are lots of stories of people who came in and said this sounds like me. I am not surprised at all. And it gives them a new confidence and it empowers them to continue on.

Adam Taggart: Yeah. I think we might get into this a little bit further on in the podcast. But one of the things that it did for me that I think is worth emphasizing here is I went in definitely with the hopes of getting better self-understanding, which I definitely got. And at the time, I had cut the cord and sort of jumped deliberately without the safety net. So I knew I had to find something to move towards. And I really wanted it to be something that was much more authentic for me than what I have been doing.

Steve Greene: Right.

Adam Taggart: And I had a number of different options that I was looking at at the time. And what I found extremely helpful with the results, not only did it point me towards a specific direction and I was able to focus on the opportunities that were a good fit with the results that I was getting from the test, but it made it so much easier to say no to the other options that were on the table that were “good options” that are culturally whatever. I felt fortunate to have them. And up until taking the test, I had a lot of internal aches that oh my gosh, everybody says this is such a good job. It is a good company. Am I throwing my future away by not taking the opportunity? But when I was able to see what type of work I should be doing and then overlay that against the opportunities, there were a lot of “good” opportunities that I was looking at. But it was taking up a big chunk of my mental capacity that I could all the sudden put to the side and feel good about saying it is a good job. It is a good opportunity. Just not for someone who is composed like me. And I can feel good saying goodbye to that.

Steve Greene: Right. That is a really very important point because there is so many pressures that shape our choices, societal pressures, parental pressures, peer pressures, what we think is prestigious and sometimes what is left out of the puzzle. What are we innately good at doing? What would make us happy and engage us and fulfill us in our work? And there are some people who have a work ethic where that is not important. They say oh, you just have to work hard, earn money, pay your bills and that kind of thing. And, of course, those are not people who are in touch with our philosophy.

Adam Taggart: Right, right. Well and I think it really is the rare person who without outside data like this who really fully understands themselves well. I mean obviously we all have a decent self-understanding of ourselves to a certain degree. But there is also a lot that we are blind to or that we are anxious about. And what I love about this is it is all – it is very empirical. There is no emotion behind it. It is just what the data says. And it is interesting. There are strengths that come from the results whether the results are positive or negative meaning it validates opinions that you have about yourself. It is great because then you know okay, I can really lean hard on those parts of myself, right. If it says I am a good problem solver, great. I can feel confident jumping into an uncertain environment to solve problems. But at times too, it tells you that boy, some of these things that you thought you were good at or maybe hoped you were good at, you are just not naturally strong at versus the average person. It does not mean do not do it. It just means maybe do not quit your day job if you want to indulge in that part of yourself.

Steve Greene: That is exactly right. And I think that is a very important point because what we do not do is tell people what they can or cannot do. Because even a person who lacks in aptitude, if they are really motivated and hardworking, they may be able to succeed to some extent. But chances are they will not enjoy that work and find it fulfilling. We do not necessarily even tell people what they should or should not do. Basically what we tell people is these are the things that you are most likely to enjoy doing because they came natural to you. When people gravitate towards their strengths, they tend to, again, be very fulfilled and engaged by their work. There is a positive psychologist who calls that the flow space. You are engaging your natural talents and being properly challenged. It is a very positive state of mind.

Adam Taggart: Well let us use this then to segue into a description of what taking the test actually looks like. Because I think most people when they are thinking of a test here, they are thinking of probably something like the Myers-Briggs where you sit down for an hour and circle a lot of bubbles on the chart.

Steve Greene: Right.

Adam Taggart: Your test is much more kind of like a mental steeple chase. It is just a whole bunch of different things. A lot of them – half the time I did not really even know what you guys were testing at the time. And it is long. I think it is six hours of testing, right, followed by….

Steve Greene: Yeah. Well the tests themselves are more like puzzles or games. They were designed initially to be worked in conjunction with the psychology departments at the Illinois Institute of Technology, MIT, and Stevens Institute of Technology to develop what we call work samples. And they are more like hands on samples of work or puzzles or games that people perform that measure natural abilities. We are not asking people what they like to do or think they are good at. We are really getting at how are you hard wired. What are you naturally good at? So we are having people put together 3-dimensional jigsaw puzzles or move pins with tweezers, or listen to musical tones. And we try to keep paper and pencil activities to a minimum in this type of testing. Again, you think more like a puzzle or game than an actual school test.

The length of the test, there are three sessions. The first two are half days of testing, about three and one-half hours each. And those are split up into two approximately 90 minute sessions one of which is an individually administered test, the other which is audio-visually administered tests. And there are two sessions like that. And the third session is the explanation of the results that is called a summary session. And that lasts about an hour to an hour and one-half. And we send people home with a bar graph of all their scores, percentiles and written explanatory material and a book on understanding your aptitudes, which is chapters about each of the traits, a variety of handouts that focus on initial steps to take after the testing. And some of them focus on particular aptitudes.

In addition to that, we encourage our clients to record these sessions. Because going back and listening to it can be very valuable. So it is time consuming. So it is almost seven hours of testing and then an hour to an hour and one-half feedback. And those sessions can be done consecutively in a day and one-half or spread out over three days. Those days can be on different weeks or different months, whatever works best.

Adam Taggart: Great, but not on the same day, right?

Steve Greene: No. I mean some brave souls decide they are going to do a full day of testing and then come back the next morning to hear the results. And it is does not seem to have that much of an impact on their results. But it does seem to have an impact on their mood at the end of the day. It is a long day.

Adam Taggart: I believe that that is a long day. I think your brain is pretty fried near the end.

Steve Greene: Yeah. Well people have an hour for lunch. They can go out and get some coffee and refuel and come back and do it again. I guess the ones who do that are probably the pretty high energy people to begin with.

Adam Taggart: Yeah.

Steve Greene: Yeah, it is not as fun to do it that way. It is more relaxed to spread them out.

Adam Taggart: Yeah, and as someone who has taken it, I definitely advise at least breaking it into two days of testing.

Steve Greene: Yeah. And sometimes we have even had people break the session in two. They come in for an hour and one-half one day and an hour and one-half another day. It is just coming in more often.

Adam Taggart: Yeah, yeah. And then as you said, so it is the seven hours of the actual test. And then it is an hour to an hour and one-half where you sit down with somebody on staff, a researcher who basically comes in and says here is what the computer spit out. Let us talk through those results. But then let us talk about you, your interests, and your understanding of yourself and see how this really meshes with your own experience with your life.

Steve Greene: That is correct. I mean basically we could just give a person a list of examples of occupations based on how they scored. But the discussions tend to get much more in depth than that. We do like to know what people’s interest and values and hobbies and things like that are. That might shed some light on how they might best use these abilities.

Adam Taggart: Right.

Steve Greene: Because there is no set way that one person has to use their abilities. There are a variety of different ways they can use them.

Adam Taggart: Right, right. And for me, it has been hey, these are some careers that you should look at because they score high like the people with your profile.

Steve Greene: Right.

Adam Taggart: And interestingly, a couple of them just surprised me like crazy. I had never thought I might be interested in them. And, of course, upon further reflection, I can now actually see why those might be good fits.

Steve Greene: Right.

Adam Taggart: But for me, what was really important is I tell people that go to take the test, do not expect the clouds to part and a hand to come down for the heavens and say you should be a dentist, right.

Steve Greene: Yes.

Adam Taggart: Even though the computer will spit out a number of jobs to take a look at.

Steve Greene: Right.

Adam Taggart: But I did have my own epiphany moment and I think a lot of people do. And it was not around a specific profession like that. It was more the work you do has to fulfill these parts of you for it to be work for you to care about. And that was super helpful to me.

Steve Greene: Right.

Adam Taggart: In fact, I probably used that insight more than any to make the leap to do what I am doing now.

Steve Greene: Well that is a great story. Those are the kinds of stories I love to hear personally. And I hear a lot of them over the years because people do find those to be very helpful. And one of the things – the ways to think about aptitudes is when we look at – our philosophy is people come in with testing mentalities. They think it is good to score high and bad to score low. And the urge is to try to score high in everything. Most people score high in between 2 and 6 areas out of the 22 that we measure.

What we are interested in is how to combine with the average in the low scores. It is kind of like a chemical reaction. And when the high scores are not being used, it can instead become almost problematic in sources of restlessness and dissatisfaction. So we think of aptitudes not just as one’s natural abilities, but almost like needs that have to be met.

Adam Taggart: Yeah. I am glad to hear you say that because that is what my researcher said in the session that I had after doing the testing. And I found that it is very true. And it is certainly accurate in describing why the work I was doing before I went and took the test was so unfulfilling to me. Because when I looked at the things that the testing service said were the things that were really important to how I was wired, very few of them were actually getting fed by the work I was doing before.

Steve Greene: Okay. You were a good candidate for our service then.

Adam Taggart: Yeah. And like I said, for me, I had a pretty big ask of it, which is I am going to do a radical career transition. And I want the testing service to help me make sure I make the best decision possible. And again, I am happy to say it worked out for me. But as we talked about earlier, I think this test is relevant for just about anybody. And I really cannot think of a good reason for somebody not to take the test if they have the ability and the means to do so. Because that self-understanding will spill into so many other areas of your life.

Steve Greene: Well that is so true. I mean and it is funny because parents come in with their kids. They sit in the summary sessions. And they often say gee, I wonder how I would score. And I said well you do not have to wonder. You can come in and do the test. They say yeah, but I might find out that I have been doing the wrong thing for all these years and that is scary. But I mean it is – like I said, it is good to know.

Adam Taggart: It is good to know. And even if you do not want to change what you are doing, it just helps you do what you are doing better. Just customize it even more to your personal tastes and needs.

Steve Greene: Yeah. You might discover, for instance, that you scored very low on our measure of clerical speed. And maybe 50 percent of your work is clerical in nature and it is time consuming infused. But maybe you find a way to minimize that.

Adam Taggart: Right.

Steve Greene: Delegate that. And that in and of itself can elevate your job satisfaction.

Adam Taggart: Right, right. Well you mentioned that 50 percent of the people that take your test are between the ages of 14 and 21.

Steve Greene: Right.

Adam Taggart: And I think -- and I am a father and I have got two daughters who once I took this test I said my kids are definitely going to take it. My older daughter just turned 14. I am going to give her a little bit more time, at least a couple more months to let her brain mature a little bit. But I feel like as a parent, really one of the absolute best gifts I can give them is enough of a self-understanding of what makes them tick and what they may want out of life. So as they begin to make those really big life decisions that are going to determine the trajectory they go on in life. Do they go to college? If so, where do they go to college? If so, what do they study? And to have those – when I sort of defined the outputs of the testing service is I tell people it gives you compass points that you can navigate by confidently.

Steve Greene: That is a great analogy. I like that.

Adam Taggart: Thanks. Feel free to steal it.

Steve Greene: I will.

Adam Taggart: But I mean I think back to when I was at that age. And I actually was fairly successful. I graduated top of my class, went to an Ivy League school and what not. And I will say I struggled and stumbled through a lot of my early 20’s and what not because I really did not know what I wanted to do in life. And sometimes even if you are a high achiever it can work against you. You can open a lot of doors. But deciding which door to go through and what to do with your energy is really tough. So having not had those compass points when I was young and having the opportunity to potentially give them to my children. I encourage anybody listening to this who has kids to seriously consider having their kids go through this testing service.

Steve Greene: Well not only is that a great endorsement, but I agree with you one hundred percent. I am a father too. And, of course, I have two daughters. And they grew up hearing about aptitude testing their whole lives. So when my daughter was 12, my older daughter, she insisted on coming in for testing. And I said well that is a little too young. You do not have any norms until age 14. She said oh, but I am smart, motivated and I want to do it. And I said well we cannot. She said okay. I will make you a deal. If you promise me to test me on my 14th birthday I will stop bugging you. So we did. We came in here the day after her 14th birthday. Now that is not necessarily the right age for everybody. For some students, it might even be better to wait until junior year in high school when they are starting to contemplate colleges, majors and so forth. But for interested and motivated students who are mature and interested, 14 is not a bad age.

Adam Taggart: All right. Well parents who are listening, take note here. Of course, the flip side as well is I think the three people that would benefit most from this and again I want to repeat. I think that almost anybody should consider doing this just as a life enhancer. But it is the person that really wants to make a big change. We talked about them. It is younger people who are about to explode on to the world. And then I think it is people that are approaching retirement and really trying to figure out what they want to do with the next act of their life. Do you get a lot of retirees coming in or soon to be retirees?

Steve Greene: Not a lot, but we do get some. Because a lot of people are under the impression that oh, it is too late for me. But we do get a number of retirees. Just in the last couple months I tested people in their 60’s who were contemplating retirement.

Adam Taggart: Yeah. I would think for that type of person this would be a great test to consider. You literally have the chance to completely wipe the slate clean and do something very different with your time. And why not make sure that it is really custom tailored to what is of value.

Steve Greene: Right. I think one other thing that is worth noting is we just recently – one of our researchers did an interesting study of students. And the most notable result was that 60 percent of – about 60 percent of students who tested with Johnson O’Connor continued their declared major while they were at college. The comparison group in the study who had not tested with JOC changed their major 50 percent of the time. And changing majors can be a huge undertaking in terms of expense, time and things like that.

So just for parents thinking well what – we do charge for our service. We are a not for profit organization. But the fee for testing is 750 dollars in New York and 675 in the other labs. But how does that translate into an investment? Well one college course is much more than that.

Adam Taggart: Right.

Steve Greene: So if a person does two years of engineering and realizes it was a huge mistake and then switches over into the liberal arts school that is a big undertaking.

Adam Taggart: Right. And I am glad you mentioned two things there. Just to clarify what you said, you are saying that kids who took the Johnson O’Connor test before they went to college changed their majors much less frequently, correct?

Steve Greene: Right.

Adam Taggart: Right. So they were much more likely to pick a course, stick with it and hopefully that is because the course was much more aligned with their innate aptitudes and interests.

Steve Greene: Yeah. I mean often people, after they leave here, will realize hey, this is a good major for me. Because they say now I have some objective criteria to base it on.

Adam Taggart: Right. And then secondly, you mentioned the price of the exam. It is a pricier test than say the Myers-Briggs or a lot of the personality/strength finder tests out there.

Steve Greene: That is correct.

Adam Taggart: And I will again continue to give my endorsement here, which is I think when you amortize the value of the results versus that cost across the rest of your life, I think it is an absolutely screaming deal. It is a complete slam dunk investment.

Steve Greene: Thank you for the endorsement. And just in terms of the statistics, if you are changing your major or taking one additional class, it pays for itself.

Adam Taggart: Right. It has already paid itself right back.

Steve Greene: Exactly.

Adam Taggart: And it is the kind of thing – there is only so much you can get, I think, by taking those tests where you are filling in the bubbles. What I really like about Johnson O’Connor’s methodology is it is very active as you have mentioned. I mean they are like games. But I mean you are literally – if it is a spatial test, you are assembling blocks together. If it is a dexterity test, a manual dexterity test, you are doing that in real time. And by the way, I got to stop for one second and say I was pretty convinced I moved those pins faster with my tweezers than any person alive and I scored below the median. I could not believe that.

Steve Greene: Yes. Lots of people feel the same way. I myself felt that way. I said hey, I got all these pins in. I think I probably scored pretty high. And I was in like the tenth percentile.

Adam Taggart: I was shocked, yeah. God.

Steve Greene: So the thing is sometimes you do not have an accurate self-perception. You think hey, I am doing this pretty well. But what comes out is how did you compare to everyone else in your age group who did the exact same thing?

Adam Taggart: Right, right.

Steve Greene: Under the same circumstances. That is where it puts it into perspective.

Adam Taggart: Well and when I talked about blind spots earlier that is exactly right. There are just – I mean a blind spot is a blind spot because we are blind to it. We just do not see it. And that was a great example where I did not think I was maybe the world’s best pin mover. But I would have been on myself on a race versus the average person. And clearly, I would have lost.

Steve Greene: See, we saved you a lot of money there...

Adam Taggart: Yeah, I appreciate that.

Steve Greene: ...on the wager you would have made.

Adam Taggart: Exactly. So we have talked about the methodology. We have talked about how the test runs. We have talked about who should take it. Is there anything else you would like to say in terms of once somebody has got the results and they then go back out into the world whether it is in their own careers or their own lives? How are people really using this information? What is the application you most commonly see?

Steve Greene: Well many people, as I said, will make fine-tuned adjustments to their career paths. The question I ask after the end of the discussion session where we go over the results is are you surprised. And most people say no, I am not surprised by any of this. But they would not have necessarily been able to put it into words. So it gives them labels to attach. It gives them more concrete evidence that they are actually hard wired and talented in certain things. And it helps them go out and then changes the confidence. I think you are a great example to somebody who this emboldened you to make a huge career change. So some people use it that way. Other people are not in a position where they are able to make those changes from the field they are. And sometimes they again find satisfying hobbies or avocations. And then sometimes people go full speed ahead and end up really excelling on the path that they have been on with renewed vigor and confidence. So it can be empowering for those people.

Adam Taggart: Great. Well for someone who is listening who was hearing you describe those benefits and thinking boy this sounds like something I would really love to do or at least learn more about it, where should they go?

Steve Greene: Well they can start off with our websites. We have a newly designed website. It is www.jocrf as in foundation dot org. And they can also feel free to contact me in the New York office. My telephone number is (212) 269-0550.

Adam Taggart: Oh, you are very kind and brave to share your phone number there. But I appreciate you doing it. And there are Johnson O’Connor offices in a lot of major cities in the United States, correct?

Steve Greene: That is correct, yes. We have one in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

Adam Taggart: Great. So for the vast majority of people, there is a center within a day’s drive more or less.

Steve Greene: Yes, yes.

Adam Taggart: Great. And do you have any international as well?

Steve Greene: We do not. We are only in the continental United States.

Adam Taggart: All right. Are there any plans at any point? Probably 25 percent of our listeners are international.

Steve Greene: No. At one point we had a charter for a center in Toronto and we had one in Mexico. But those have run out. And we have no plans to extend beyond United States borders at this point. We are looking to expand internally first.

Adam Taggart: Okay.

Steve Greene: Maybe in the future.

Adam Taggart: Well for our international listeners….

Steve Greene: We do get lots of requests.

Adam Taggart: I bet you do.

Steve Greene: From other countries. Oh, can you please open up a center in Australia and Singapore. At this plans we do not have any plans. Unfortunately, people outside the United States will have to travel to one of our locations. And again, these are not tests that can be done remotely. They are individually administered.

Adam Taggart: Right, right. All right. So for our international listeners, sorry for the bad news. But if you come over to the states, this might be a fun thing that thing that they can do a trip out here.

Steve Greene: A lot of people do that. They combine this with a trip to New York to go and see Broadway plays and the sites of New York.

Adam Taggart: Yeah. And frankly, I think that is a great way to make sure you come home from your trip having had some fun, but also taking real value home for you that is going to last a lifetime really. All right. In closing, Steve, first I want to say thanks so much for really breaking all this down for us.

Steve Greene: Sure.

Adam Taggart: And I really do hope that anybody listening to this who has been wrestling with life decisions where these types of insights may be useful definitely go check out the website that Steve mentioned and pick up the phone and talk to a researcher at a center that is near you if you think you might want to learn more and talk about potentially scheduling a session there. In closing, I will just say when I talk about why take the test with people, Steve.

Steve Greene: Yes.

Adam Taggart: What I say at the end of the day is what the test results help people find is purpose. And there are other components to finding purpose in life. But really understanding what are the things that intrinsically motivate you and that you are just wired for is a huge component of that. And as I said, there are other tests out there that can contribute to an understanding of that. But if you could only do one, I would say do this test. Does that resonate with you as well the whole purpose angle?

Steve Greene: Absolutely, absolutely. First of all, thank you for such a great endorsement. But people do hopefully leave our office with a sense of what kind of work will be most meaningful and fulfilling based on how I am hard wired in my natural talents. You also can direct people just on basic things like what is the work approach that best suits you? Are you really wired for teamwork or are you more individual and specialized in your scope? So yeah, I think that you gave a very accurate description of what people can expect.

Adam Taggart: Well thanks. And I appreciate you thanking me for my endorsement. But really, I guess I should be thanking Johnson O’Connor the man himself were he still alive. Again, it made such a big difference in my life. And if anybody is curious who is listening, we do not have any sort of business relationship with Johnson O’Connor. This is just really coming from me personally with the value I found in my experience there. But with that, Steve, I am going to thank you again for giving us so much of your time. And we will post the links to the website and some of the resources you mentioned along here with the podcast. But if anybody has questions on the test itself further, please ask them in the comment section and we will make sure they get answered for you. And with that, Steve, thank you so much.

Steve Greene: Okay. Thank you, Adam.

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31 Comments

Time2help's picture
Time2help
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Jun 9 2011
Posts: 2189
Do it.

I'm putting some additional thoughts together, but initially I would say this: It doesn't matter whether or not you are considering a career or other major life change, or what stage of life you are in. You should take it.

I found, and continue to find, the insights provided by the JOC test series invaluable.  

Make sure you audio record the results/debrief session, you will want to refer to it later.

Agent700's picture
Agent700
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 3 2014
Posts: 13
Timely Interview

Great interview Adam, and very good questions.

The timing couldn't be better for this subscriber! Two kids who will now go through this JOC testing next year - one 17 year old who is smart as a whip but unable to decide on a major and another 21 year old who will graduate without knowing what she really wants to do......Maybe the results will end up saving me money in the long run by getting them focused much sooner than otherwise.

Thank you for coming up with a broad range of subjects and especially ones that educate and give actionable information......

craazyman's picture
craazyman
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2012
Posts: 9
It doesn't always work

I appreciate the sincerity of this post -- both in terms of Mr. Taggart and the interviewee -- but in my view (and experience) this sort of thing works for 1 in 20 and leaves the other 19 wondering why they wasted their time and money.

I personally went through a somewhat similar experience, having left Wall Street in my late 20s -- looking for a more meaningful and creative work and life -- and signed up with a fairly well known (at the time) firm that presented itself in a similar way to what's described in the podcast. To be sure, it was a different organization, different testing procedures, etc. I don't wish to confuse or conflate the two.

Nevertheless, I went down a series of tests and consultations with a counselor, and within the first week it became clear to me there was no there there.There were lots of airy and nebulous hints and suggestions about the kinds of jobs you might like and be good at, a few personality tests, etc. But absolutely nothing that did what I needed most, which, in hindsight, I realized was a network of personal connections and individuals with some degree of influence ready to understand my goals and dreams and willing to help a young person with a break. Few are so lucky and I wasn't. 

A few thousand dollars later and I was in the same place I started. "What do I do now, to fill the day and earning a living?" Earning a living was the hardest part. The course revealed nothing to me I didn't already know and the insights it provided were, I thought in hindsight, superficial and vaporous utopian bubbles of thought.

Years later and after painfully having recreated a professional existence in a field I don't love in a job I don't love though which offers some degree of financial security, it's clear to me that what makes for fullfillment and happiness, to a large degree, is a nurturing work environment, good colleagues and a company willing to recognize your value as a worker and a person. The development of this test at GE way back in the day suggested that work environment possessed all of those to some degree (not to romanticize it), but if you're already in you're a dam sight better off than on the outside looking in and wondering how to get in. 

What you do is important, to be sure, but for most people with average ability across most things, it's less important than who you do it with. Few are so lucky to "find their bliss" there. Most soldier on. Understanding how to contend with that in a healthy way is a hard challenge after you've realized there's no utopia that waits for you if only you understood the secrets of your soul. You need a job. Period. And sometimes that comes with loads of compromises.

Does that mean this sort of thing is a waste of time? Absolutely not. But the ones who find nirvana after it are far outnumbered by the quantity who don't. One last thing while I'm "ranting". Throwing this sort of thing at a teenager seems to me parental malpractice. Most people actually need to experience reality to understand who they are. Most don't find themselves until into their 20s or 30s in any meaningful way. So much depends on who you encounter in your path and the kind of friendship and spiritual presence they impart upon you.

Uncletommy's picture
Uncletommy
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: May 4 2014
Posts: 195
Ya; oh well!

Interesting. Take away's for me:

1.Validates Proverbs 22:6

2. Made me revisit Frank Sulloway's, Born to Rebel, on the importance of gender and birth order on early childhood development.

3. Letters behind your name allow you access to supply managed occupations, not satisfaction in your life. 

4. Read to and with your kids and grandkids - teach them what a dictionary is and how to use it. Vocabulary is essential for awareness.

5. Agree with Craazyman - I have a "tested" child with an honors in science, driving a delivery van,making a DECENT income and is having a blast.

6.Concentrate on your health, stay active and enjoy your family and friends. 

7. Test, if you have $750.00 to piss away and use it to your advantage.

pgp's picture
pgp
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 2 2014
Posts: 185
Its important to know what

Its important to know what you're good at and how to exploit that. The only problem is finding the opportunity to start. How many thousands of people with the resources and aptitude to start an enterprise are simply unwilling to take a risk on the organised crime casino we call the modern global economy??

Perhaps that's the wrong perspective. Maybe turning to white collar crime is the answer. Learning to focus on the skills that benefit an attitude of exploitation rather than capitalism would be key. Sadly I'm pretty sure I don't have the aptitudes that will make me the expert sales predator I need to be to prosper in business these days.

Fundamentally therefore I would argue that attitude is more important than aptitude. In an economy that controls us opportunity and success will be found in learning how to be a better sociopath.

kaimu's picture
kaimu
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 20 2013
Posts: 114
SELLERS BEWARE!

Aloha! The myriad of self awareness propaganda that has flooded our collective consciousness since EST days has one common thread. CASH FLOW IS KING! I find it disconcerting to see the gurus of these various movements over the decades living lives of luxury on the bank accounts of the defeated muddled masses.

If there was one of these programs that truly worked then we would have all paid our entry fee and be living in Nirvana by now ... oops ... leaving Nirvana and now headed to Zardoz! One size does not fit all and one guru is one too many! It goes back to the human condition which is why all government fails and which is why at least our Founding Fathers realized that if indeed all governments fail then the best path is the path to less government so that when the failure happens, when not if, it becomes a lesser failure and not a World War. A smaller government is always easier to fix and reform than a Titanic Godzilla government. Makes sense to me, not "monarchy or dictator sense" but "common sense". Common sense is the sense of the common man, but even that is corruptible. We're human ...

So SELLERS BEWARE because there are many of us BUYERS who have given up buying. Either because we no longer have discretionary funds to experiment with or we have exhausted our sense of authentic self and now are content following our own misguided path free from revelation and judgment. We're just plain tired of the inexhaustible bullshit that permeates every nook and cranny of living the damn American Dream.

We're so tired of watching a long line of "lesser evils" debate the economy and politrix on TV followed by an even longer line of pundits and analysts deciphering and debating the debate and who won the debate as if winning a debate means the "lesser evil" is less evil now than an hour ago! In the fourth November we only find the "Hope and Change" we confidently voted for turns into the same raging lunatic we voted out of office the prior year. DAMN! Fooled again-n-n-n!!!!! But Roger Daltry promised me when I was 17!!! Off to Vietnam we go ... Do not pass GO and do not collect $0.02l!!

For cryin' out loud LEAVE US THE HELL ALONE!!!!! Let us exist in the light of unfettered Freedom for once in our miserable ass damn life. It's our inalienable ... right??? YES, PLEASE ... go away and leave us to our own devices like it was in the days of the Garden of Eden. Maybe we have been lied to since Adam and Eve. Maybe the apple was not  sin, but blissfully free life. LIFE!!! Maybe the snake had two heads ... one head was Obama and the other Bush! Maybe if Adam and Eve would have stomped the crap out of that snake the apple would have tasted a hell of a lot sweeter!!!! Maybe ... maybe snakes fly!

We are always lured and ruled by sociopaths. These sociopaths have a long lineage stretching all the way back to Rome, to the pyramids, to the Garden. As big as the Earth is there seems no place to go to escape the gurus and presidents. We have all been crucified by the nails of technology. So we hang on our crosses in despair waiting for the next guru to sell us the next alluring version of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"!  In the key of Fminor! Sing it Sigmund!!!

SELLERS BEWARE we are coming for you in the night right after our clocks strike thirteen! The End

Time2help's picture
Time2help
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Jun 9 2011
Posts: 2189
Re:Seller's Beware!

To each their own.

I read the book and took the test. Any you know what? I found the test results to be perhaps the singular most valuable professional insight I've come across in my life. Period.

Using the insights learned from the JOC test, I walked away from a six figure salary to do my own thing. And no matter how it all turns out, I couldn't be happier about it, and I'll never regret that decision.

PS - I agree completely with you about the whole sociopathic rule thing - which sucks.

kaimu's picture
kaimu
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 20 2013
Posts: 114
HAPPIMESS

Aloha! But how do you know you're happy ... that you could have been happier if you did not take the test? You'll never know what could have been? You chose a path.

Whose yardstick do we use to measure "happy"?

Maybe we just choose to be our own "happy" now.

With my past life in Third World countries it seems the poorest of the poor, by our standards of poor, are happier now. They don't take tests! Maybe their happiness is acceptance no matter what income or strife is.

My dog does not ponder happiness. My dog has no guru. Maybe dogs are more highly evolved. Maybe we should think like dogs if we knew what dogs think. HA!! The curse of being human!!! Its endless BS!!!

californiawoman's picture
californiawoman
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 25 2010
Posts: 10
high schoolers need some guidance

When my daughters were in high school, the local utility company offered a free seminar for high schoolers who wanted help choosing a career.  The program  lasted a few hours and was based on your answers to general written questions. The answers were divided into 3 categories, it helped you figure out if you were a detail oriented kind of person, a people person,  or a self starter.  Based on what category you fell into, certain careers were suggested.

This happened 15 years ago and it was so impressive, that I remember it to this day. Every high school student should be required to go through that type of session to help focus one's future energies in the right direction. Major time and heartache saver in life.   

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Online)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 2358
Data Or No Data?

I'm surprised at some of the apparent resistance to the idea that testing can help us make better decisions.

I had expected that a community rich in INTJ's would have loved learning about such an empirical science-based approach to better self-understanding.

Oh well. As Time2Help says, to each their own...

But from my perspective, it's never a bad thing to have more (good) data to base your decision-making on. Especially for the big decisions that will impact your quality of life.

The insights the JOC test yields are not commandments. You can either choose to consider them when making life choices or not. It's up to you.

To fear that they'll somehow force you down a wrong path is to duck your responsibility for what you do with your life. 

Does this test guarantee you'll have a life of unending happiness simply because you took it?  Of course not. 

Rather, it's a lot like the blood testing Chris has had done. With the information he learned about his own internal bio-chemistry (e.g. which foods trigger allergies), he's been able to modify his diet to feel and perform better.

In my experience, the results of the JOC testing enable you to make similar positive modifications to your overall life. To align your actions better with your natural likes and abilities.

And it's important to note that making the modifications is as important as the insights themselves, On their own, the insights aren't going to do anything for you. It's you who has to intelligently apply them in your life.

It's like weight loss. We all know how to achieve it: eat healthier (in both quality and quantity) and be more active. But the challenge comes in the discipline and the doing. The same is true here. 

It's not lost on me that the biggest resistance is coming from folks who have not taken the test. And that those who have taken it (Time2Help and myself), are big supporters. Perhaps that's confirmation bias, but we've been applying the results we received and are happier as a result. If folks want to argue the other side, I'm all for it -- but I'd prefer to react to a thoughtful critique of the JOC methodology. It's difficult to craft a useful response to comments like "I took a different test and it didn't work for me" or "sociopaths rule the world!"

Lastly, just to be clearly on the record: I could not disagree more with the comment about this being a bad thing for teens.

My position goes back to the title of this response: Data or no data?

Which is worse:

  1. the current educational model where kids sit through nearly 2 decades of having information pushed at them, with no structured assistance with mapping their strengths and interests to the career choice they'll have to make after high school or college?
  2. providing them with empirical, science-based insights about their natural aptitudes and their inherent motivators, and identifying potential "good fit" activities for them to explore before having to commit to a life path? 

This is a belief here, but I think approach #1 is largely responsible for why the majority of Americans end up in jobs they dislike.

And it's also my belief that, as a father, it would be "parental malpractice" NOT to give a child the option of approach #2. Indeed, in close second to providing love & nurturing, helping my kids develop an actionable self-understanding is my top prioritiy.

But, to each their own...

Time2help's picture
Time2help
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Jun 9 2011
Posts: 2189
Self-Motivation

Adam Taggart wrote:

But from my perspective, it's never a bad thing to have more (good) data to base your decision-making on. Especially for the big decisions that will impact your quality of life.

The JOC test series provided the most holistic personal decision-making dataset I've ever seen. 

Adam Taggart wrote:

Rather, it's a lot like the blood testing Chris has had done. With the information he learned about his own internal bio-chemistry (e.g. which foods trigger allergies), he's been able to modify his diet to feel and perform better.

If you have the means get an IgG panel workup done on yourself. I found out I'm allergic to pretty much anything that comes out of a cow (milk, cheese, cream, etc.). Juxtapose that with the multiple whey protein shakes I was having each day, and it's no wonder I was starting to feel crappy. I feel way better now (no dairy, no chicken eggs) - and dropped 25 pounds in the two months after I cut the dairy.

Adam Taggart wrote:

In my experience, the results of the JOC testing enable you to make similar positive modifications to your overall life. To align your actions better with your natural likes and abilities. And it's important to note that making the modifications is as important as the insights themselves, On their own, the insights aren't going to do anything for you. It's you who has to intelligently apply them in your life.

It's like weight loss. We all know how to achieve it: eat healthier (in both quality and quantity) and be more active. But the challenge comes in the discipline and the doing. The same is true here. 

A lot of things in life come down to self-motivation. That goes back to having the drive to take the test initially and then following through for yourself.

Adam Taggart wrote:

Which is worse:

  1. the current educational model where kids sit through nearly 2 decades of having information pushed at them, with no structured assistance with mapping their strengths and interests to the career choice they'll have to make after high school or college?
  2. providing them with empirical, science-based insights about their natural aptitudes and their inherent motivators, and identifying potential "good fit" activities for them to explore before having to commit to a life path? 

This is a belief here, but I think approach #1 is largely responsible for why the majority of Americans end up in jobs they dislike.

And it's also my belief that, as a father, it would be "parental malpractice" NOT to give a child the option of approach #2. Indeed, in close second to providing love & nurturing, helping my kids develop an actionable self-understanding is my top priority.

Period.

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2101
Constructive feedback

Hey Adam-

  This is meant purely as constructive feedback. 

  I wish we had been told that the test cost $700 right up front, vs not hearing about that until several minutes into the podcast.  The topic interested me, so I listened.  But I kind of felt suckered several minutes into the podcast when I found out we were talking about something that cost $700 (unlike the Myers-Briggs test, which -I believe- one can take for free). 

   Yes, you did say:

"I have to spend a moment here discussing the Johnson O’Connor test. Yes, this test is significantly more expensive than the others. But in my experience, it was the single most useful test I took during my transition."

But that wasn't explicit about the cost, and I was still surprised at the hefty $700 price tag.  I felt like I'd inadvertently found myself in the middle of an infomercial.  I stopped listening at that point.

  I make no judgment on the quality of the test, or the potential value that may be derived from the data it provides, and the insight those who take it may derive from that data.  It may well be worth $700 to those who take it.  I just wish we had been given that pertinent information up front, to help us decide whether we wanted to listen to the podcast or not.  Some folks here don't have a discretionary $700 to spend.  And even some of us who do, may have enough other higher priority prepping expenses to have made the $700 a deal-breaker for us, up-front.

  Many of us here place an awful lot of trust in you and Chris.  And it is very, very well-deserved trust. So the last thing I want to have happen is to find myself second-guessing whether material posted on the site is strictly informational, or if it involves buying a product.  I know I would greatly appreciate being given that information up front.

  Thanks for the listen.  Respectfully,

  pinecarr

Time2help's picture
Time2help
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Jun 9 2011
Posts: 2189
Just as a datapoint

Johnson O'Conner Research Foundation

JOC wrote:
The Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation is a nonprofit scientific research and educational organization with two primary commitments: to study human abilities and to provide people with a knowledge of their aptitudes that will help them derive more satisfaction from their lives by discovering their natural potential.

Since 1922, hundreds of thousands of people have used our aptitude testing service to find direction in educational and career planning, whether still in school, seeking employment, or making mid-life career changes.

As an aside, I consider it a "sign of the times" that people are so jaded. 

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added note

The testing my daughters took through the free utility company seminar, did help them find out that they wanted to work with people. I then set some ground rules for their education.  If they would find a practical career and be gainfully employed, I would refund the cost of their education after they graduated with college loans.

One is now a successful chiropractor and the other works at Stanford in the medical field. Both are thrilled with their careers and I have paid their education in full.  Neither wasted time trying to "find" themselves, and neither one of them dragged out the college experience incurring excessive loans.  

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Question

For Adam - if you hadn't taken the JOC test series and followed through with the findings, would PeakProsperity exist?

[Adam: answered in comment below]

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Getting What Your Pay For

Pinecarr -

I appreciate you sharing the feedback. I thought I was pretty up front about the cost (per my quote you included, as well as addressing it clearly in the podcast), but I'll be sensitive to mention it from the very get-go in future articles.

A few thoughts/comments:

Quality testing has a cost to administer. In the JOC testing, a human researcher is putting you through each of the tests in the 7 hours worth of testing. That person then pours through your results, and then sits down with you for another 1.5 hours of processing through them. That's nearly 9 hours of dedicated work from a trained specialist. Add in the overhead cost of the testing center/testing equipment/etc, and the ~$700 cost does not seem unreasonable.

The Myers-Briggs test you cite is not administered in the personalized custom way the JOC testing is. It is also not free. It costs $45.95 to take online through the Myers-Briggs website, and $150 if you request personal feedback through MB's endorsed specialists. It is also much less specific and less actionable than the insights JOC yields, in my opinion. Yes, there are a number of free "Myers-Briggs lite" test to be found on the Internet, but the Myers-Briggs Foundation does not endorse them and there's not a lot of value to be gained from them (again, in my opinion).

I liken the difference between a test like the Myers-Briggs compared to the JOC as to dropping into a gym vs several sessions with a personal trainer. The first is more affordable, but just gives you access to the premises. The latter costs a lot more, but gives you a clear understanding of your fitness profile and a customized plan for improving it. It's up to the individual to choose which is best for their needs, based on their goals and resources.

There is no business relationship between JOC and PP.com. I clearly stated this in the podcast, but since you didn't listen all the way through (and others may not have, too), I want to re-state it here. From the transcript:

I appreciate you thanking me for my endorsement. But really, I guess I should be thanking Johnson O’Connor the man himself were he still alive. Again, it made such a big difference in my life. And if anybody is curious who is listening, we do not have any sort of business relationship with Johnson O’Connor. This is just really coming from me personally with the value I found in my experience there. 

Is $675/$750 too much to spend for the kind of insights the JOC returns? That's a very fair question. Clearly, I think it's not too much, or else I wouldn't be shining so much light on it. In my opinion, the life benefits you enjoy by making better self-tailored decisions (what to study, what career to choose, what skills to rely on, how to focus your time, etc) are in such vast excess of the cost that I think this is a no-brainer if you have "the ability and the means to do so", as I stated in the podcast. For those who truly can't afford it financially, I still think there's value in knowing such tests exist out there -- perhaps they can find other ones with similar methodology at a better price, or revisit the decision when/if they have budget to do so.

Would PP.com exist if I hadn't taken the JOC test? (Time2Help's question) Hard to say with absolute certainty, but in my heart, I don't think it would. ChrisMartenson.com still would, but I don't think I'd have made the jump to partner with Chris and create something much bigger. Learning my JOC results was a water-shed moment for me: the insights clicked into place for me in a way that, for the first time, gave me line of sight as to how taking the riskier but more authentic path could end as a "win". Without that, I'm sad to admit, I may not have had the courage to take the leap, and probably would have taken one of the "safer" options on the table. Had I, I'm confident I'd still be wrestling with the inner angst that was always there before starting Peak Prosperity. As we often say: When your actions are not aligned with your values, anxiety thrives.

Are there other tests worth taking out there? Or is this simply a JOC love-fest? Yes, there are numerous tests that yield helpful insights. I talk about a number of them in my career book. Gallup's StrengthsFinder is a good one to look at. I'm a big fan of taking as many as you're able, as well as working with a career coach to help you interpret the results and decide how best to apply them in your life. In my opinion, they all contribute pieces of the puzzle that help you get a better understanding of what makes you tick. But I focused on JOC in this podcast because I personally found it to be the single best value for the insights gained vs the cost (and it sounds like Time2Help agrees)

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Thanks Adam

I appreciate you listening to my feedback, and taking it in the constructive manner in which it was meant. 

Best,

pinecarr

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Delightful discussion - and?

From where I stand, is the subject of testing more an issue about "me", or is it about "us"? After almost 50 married to the same women and all of my kids, gainfully employed and none of them in jail (yet), I wonder how my JOC score would  have influenced me? 

God grant us all His grace, That we may all obtain from Him what we stand most in need of: A blessed END.

H.J.C. von Grimmelshausen,  Simplicius Simplicissimus

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JOC Testing

There was a charity in NY that ran a displaced homemakers workshop, where I (recently abandoned by my ex) took the JOC testing for free. It took all day and then another half a day to go over the results.

The priceless and unexpected insights about who I am and what I was suited for and where I would be happy made me who I am today. For example, I had no idea that I loved research. I chose a direction and a career based on who I was. Had I not taken the testing I would have chosen based on the advice of family, friends, and culture. My life has been a fulfilling series of working toward goals that made me love my work.

I cannot recommend JOC testing highly enough.

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TESTY DANGERS

Aloha! I am not surprised that the large amount of favorable JOC comments come from those who took the test. Still the idea of "tests" altering your future to me has a potential to be dangerous. I did not take the JOC test, but I took other tests that give "insight", but what value  do you assign to that "insight" in terms of planning your future course? Insight from test results narrow focus. To me the complexity of life is an advantage not  a curse. There are more opportunities now for an individual human than ever before in human history. While you narrow your focus how many missed opportunities are unseen? Of course you will never know. Sort of the "life-happens-while-you're-planning" syndrome!

Since anecdotal examples seem to be the norm here I will offer that my aunt Grace smoked and drank gin and never exercised her entire adult life and died at the age of 102. Is there a test in the world that she would have taken that would have given her the insight to drink and smoke in order to live longer? It is highly doubtful as most tests have a bias. How can they not?

If I use my own example I bounced from import biz owner(age 17) to electrician to general contractor to ag farmer to tv producer to tv studio partner and in between I have written for two financial blogs and spent four years as a volunteer in homeless shelters. Now I am on the cusp of giving all that up to take care of my ailing mother. Test or no test there is always a sense of duty and honor that must override your own needs and desires.

You know ... what test did Bernie Madoff take? What tests did our political leaders take? The mess of the world is at nose bleed levels so I say to the gurus of government and business "All your best thinking got us here"!

All that aside doing tests is "insightful". It is the part where you decide how much of your focus you ascribe to a single test that concerns me. The human body and psyche is so complex and when you add in the complexity of life on Earth it is unchartable in my estimation. My advice is do the test, JOC or any other you feel is worthy of your time and funds, but more importantly have a balance and be open because ultimately those who can "recognize" the true value of an opportunity are the ones who stand the most chance of success and happiness. No matter your definition of happiness. In my case my life proves that "detours abound"! I had to just learn how to go with the flow and be happy no matter if my perceived goals were attained or not, tests aside. In my own case I have almost lived 90% of my life doing the complete opposite of what everyone advised me to do. Most people throughout my life advised me to get a corporate job! I did take that advice, but I owned the corporation instead. It has been a cycle of finding a niche that was under served in most cases.

The most time tested path to survival is "adaptation". If you have the "adapt gene" you have a huge advantage. All you have to do is learn the skills. No matter. Time is coming whereby human history has to repeat pathetic past practices. Be open, be aware and carry on bravely ...

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kaimu

In some circles, your lifestyle has a diagnosis attached to it. 

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JOC and the GIG economy

As the discussion on the JOC seems to be acquiring a somewhat confrontational tone, I would offer a couple of  additional items for consideration. The first would be health concerns of workplace stress, as outline by Dr. Norman Swan's health report in a discussion with Jerffery Pfeffer, who's articles have been making the rounds in the media:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/healthreport/workplace-stre...

And a cogent discussion on the "GIG" economy thanks to Brian Lehrer's WNYC radio podcast at:

http://www.wnyc.org/story/deconstructing-gig-economy/

Curious how these current developments could affect how the JOC results could influence a person's viewpoint on career or lifestyle choices of the coming generation.

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Market signals it doesn't care

Nice to know what you're well suited to but it has to parallel what your economic milieu requires. Why saddle those who are un or under employed with suggestions that they take a battery of tests that figure out what they should be doing, based on their intellectual and emotional disposition?  The presumption is 'the world is their oyster', they just need the right implement to crack it open.  

Interesting to note that the companies that used to employ these tests were already  providing somewhat nurturing environments for employees. Outside of tech, these industries don't exist anymore. 

It's also worth noting a few other prime considerations. Does the individual have a support base while he/she is taking these tests?  Forget the price of the tests, can the person being tested rely on family, friends, other sources of capital, savings, to see him through to implementation?  Implementation meaning getting an entry level position in the field he is suited for.  

Secondly, for those who mention how testing worked for them, I would love to know how old they were when they took the tests and if they had any minor disabilities, when they took them.  I would also like to know WHEN they took them, as in what year.

It's great to hear about the  success of those who have done well by testing, but not if they had a couple of hundred thousand bucks behind them, at the time, a strong network and or it was a decade or two or more ago and they happened to have skills that were a good fit with a sector that was growing, at the time.

Until global population sinks to less than a third of what it currently is, there are going to be too many earnest intelligent people trying to figure out what they should be doing facing some very stern market signals. The signals will be screaming, "Really, we don't care!!"

Don't get me wrong.  I care A LOT.  That's why I am posting. 

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pgp wrote:Its important to

pgp wrote:
Its important to know what you're good at and how to exploit that. The only problem is finding the opportunity to start. How many thousands of people with the resources and aptitude to start an enterprise are simply unwilling to take a risk on the organised crime casino we call the modern global economy?? Perhaps that's the wrong perspective. Maybe turning to white collar crime is the answer. Learning to focus on the skills that benefit an attitude of exploitation rather than capitalism would be key. Sadly I'm pretty sure I don't have the aptitudes that will make me the expert sales predator I need to be to prosper in business these days. Fundamentally therefore I would argue that attitude is more important than aptitude. In an economy that controls us opportunity and success will be found in learning how to be a better sociopath.

OMG. Major handclap. Well done!! This is reality. How are old are you, if you don't mind me asking. Have you seen this from the ground up?  

I am a partner in a business in Seattle that relies on smaller companies to succeed. So far so good...but Mom and Pop businesses are under threat. I try not to be pessimistic, but know my own best strategy is to stay nimble, informed and realistic.  And compassion doesn't hurt either.  Millions of domestics, barristas, geriatric care workers and practical nurses depend on that.  Oh...and big tips too, but not about their 'career choices. To the 'haves' out there, refrain from giving those kinds of 'tips' and pull out cold hard cash. 

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Perfect Timing for this Podcast

Adam, thanks so much for doing this podcast.  I had heard you mention this JOC firm before but never took the time to look it up.  I have made appointments for my college Freshman son and H.S. Sr daughter as well as myself to take this test.  A word of advice for those thinking about doing this while their kids are home for the holidays, the JOC people book up fast during those time slots.  We were able to get appointments during the Christmas holidays but not during Thanksgiving.

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Useful AND Fun

We did the Simpsons Myers Briggs test a few years ago. It was hilarious - my wife is an ISFJ (Marge Simpson). Her ex is an ESFP (Homer) and I of course am an INTJ (Mr Burns). I found the whole exercise to be well .... excellent.

I can't remember the exact site but there are now plenty on google.

Joking aside, I'm convinced of the value in understanding the behavioural styles of others as well as ourselves

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Thank You!

Thank you for putting this information out there.  

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follow up

Three members of my family did JOC decades ago, moderately satisfied. I was going to join them but at the time could not find much evidence of verification.  My assumption was that an attempt at verifying would have been easy after the first hundred thousand, and therefore was not very supportive and went unpublished.  There were some smaller studies in psych journals, covering some details but not a comprehensive retrospective study.

That has been awhile but a quick search shows nothing recent.  Have I missed something?  The kids? As someone mentioned, not in jail, gainfully employed, loosely in the JOC categories but a palm reader might have gotten the same result.

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Finding your purpose

It is really essential to identify our own strength and skills. This is the best way to get success in life; which identifying our own capability we are able to complete every tough works in time and I am sure that strong people and professional leaders are always taking the help of their own capability and strength to solve problems instead of taking help from others.  Learning Tips

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Adam, thank you for posting

Adam, thank you for posting this.  I just completed the JOC tests yesterday.  I was in the 90th percentile in three categories and ranked high in six of them.  It confirmed that I have a strength with numbers, and just as important, it showed me where I have clear weaknesses.  Very educational, thank you for recommending this.

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