The IQ Test

The IQ Test

When I returned from the serving in WWII in 1946, I went back to work at The American Locomotive Company in Schenectady, New York. After a year and a half, the company experienced financial problems and I was laid off for a week. During this period of time I visited the Employment Office at the General Electric Company and was immediately given an interview. I was hired the same day as a Renewal Parts Clerk. My work station was in Building 69 on the fourth floor. On the next day, I resigned my position with Alco and started work in my new job.

The job was contingent upon my passing a physical test. I was sent to the Clinic on the grounds of the huge General Electric Plant. There, I went through the blood pressure, heart, eyes, ears, and nose tests, etc. Near the end, I was given a large test tube that had my last name attached to it, and was ushered to a rest room. “Come back when you’re done,” I was told.

passing a physical test

I walked into the room but could not understand what I was supposed to do. I had not been given any instructions. I looked around and saw that the room was pretty much the same as I had seen and used at Alco. But what was I supposed to do? There was a clue on the wall. I saw a wooden rack fastened on the wall that contained about a dozen holes. Inserted in a few of the holes were test tubes the same as had been given to me. Looking further, I saw a row of sinks each with a little bottle half filled with an amber-colored liquid soap. Then it occurred to me. “Ah,” I thought. “This is an intelligence test. They want me to figure out what is required and complete a required task!” But what was the task?

Glancing at the rack and the tubes located in the holes, I saw that they contained the same kind of liquid I could see in the bottles. Then it came to me. “I need to fill my tube with some of that soap as the others had done. “And,” I thought, “they want to see how well I can match the colors already in the tubes.” Very well, I could do that.

I put some water in my tube, and some of the soap, then checked the color to match what I thought might be the model, the liquid within the tube at the end of the rack. I was able to make a pretty good match and placed my tube in the rack. I walked out pleased that I had been able to show my intellect at work.

When I returned to the office in my building, my supervisor asked how everything had gone. “Very well, Mr. Cook,” I responded. “I thought the IQ test was interesting, more information.”

“IQ test?”

“Yes,” and I figured out what I needed to do!”

Mr. Cook looked puzzled.

The phone rang on his desk. He picked it up.

“What? Soap? Uh-huh. Yes, I’ll do that right away.” Mr. Cook turned to me.

“That IQ test, did it have anything to do with soap.”


follow-up IQ test

He looked as if he was going to explode trying to hold something back. Then he began to laugh. I stared in amazement “What was this all about?” I wondered.

Regaining control, he managed to sputter, “They want you back at the clinic. They’ll explain when you get there. There’s a follow-up IQ test they want you to take!”