Hey, that’s almost my life’s story, too: I 99th’ed every aptitude test they put in front of me – ACT, SAT, ASVAB – and led everyone to expect signs and wonders. But instead I coasted along the easiest downhill path of acedia, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, and all that. Two decades of fecklessness, the result of not giving a feck. I picked up skills, but never picked one. I enjoyed art and writing and even advertising, but I am a programmer, because I do it well and it pays the most. If it stops paying, I reckon I’ll do something else.
But I have been blessed with a loving wife and family. Not to rub it in, just marking where our stories would diverge, so you won’t think I’m claiming equal misery bragging rights. (And I wouldn’t want Mrs. Gleeson to read this comment without seeing this note of gratitude for her existence.)
I’ve had moments of terror when I wondered if my main skill in life was taking tests and doing well on them. (I didn’t make 1600 on the SAT or anything, but I did score high on it and on the GRE.) Because there’s no (honest) career where “scores well on standardized tests” is a useful skill.
I will say a tweet from “s*** academics say” is something I keep in mind now: “In your career path, EVERYONE is smart. Distinguish yourself by being kind.”
The problem is some of the stuff I’m good at doesn’t show up in the usual metrics as being “important.”