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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

  Making sure the man fits the job!  

Are you the right person for your job?

SITTING at a shiny imitation oak table in the Public Library, Mart turned the pages of a booklet titled Adjustment Fits the Man to the Job.

. . neuroses arising from job tension,” he read at random. “Thus, the Adjusted worker enjoys the deep-down satisfaction which comes from Doing a Job, free from conflict-inducing nonproductive impulses and the distractions of feckless speculative intellectual activity . .

Don't you wish Adjustment was available where you work?

“I mean that to get the kind of jobs that are open you have to be a nice, steady moron. And if you don’t happen to qualify as such, they’re prepared to make you into one”’

“Mart, you’re exaggerating! The treatment merely slows the synaptic response time slightly — and its effects can be reversed at any time. People of exceptional qualities are needed to handle the type work —

Maldon looked surprised. “You really expect me to go down there and have them cut my I. Q. down to 80 so I can get a job shoveling garbage?”

“Really, Mart; you can’t expect society to adjust to you. You have to adjust to it.”

She lowered her voice. “I’ll be perfectly frank with you. These jobs MUST be filled. But they can’t afford to put perceptive, active minds on rote tasks. There’d only be trouble. They need people who’ll be contented and happy punching tickets.”

Technovelgy from Placement Test, by Keith Laumer.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1964
Additional resources -

Fortunately, Mart found a way around the Adjustment:

The cubicle reminded Mart of the one at the Placement center, three days earlier, except that it contained a high, narrow cot in place of a desk and chair. A damp-looking attendant in a white coat flipped a wall switch, twiddled a dial.

“Strip to your waist, place your clothing and shoes in the basket, remove all metal objects from your pockets, no watches or other jewelry must be worn,” he recited in a rapid monotone. “When you are ready, lie down on your back—” he slapped the cot — “hands at your sides, breathe deeply, do not touch any of the equipment. I will return in approximately five minutes. Do not leave the stall.” He whisked the curtain aside and was gone.

Mart slipped a flat plastic tool kit from his pocket, opened it out, picked the largest screwdriver, and went to work on the metal panel cover set against the wall. He lifted it off and looked in at a maze of junction blocks, vari-colored wires, bright screwheads, fuses, tiny condensers.

He pulled a scrap of paper from his pocket, compared it to the circuits before him. The large black lead, here ... He put a finger on it. And the matching red one, leading up from the 30 MFD condenser . . .

With a twist, he freed the two connectors, reversed them, tightened them back in place. Working quickly, he snipped wires, fitted jumpers in place, added a massive resistor from his pocket. There; with luck, the check instruments would give the proper readings now — but the current designed to lightly scorch his synapses would flow harmlessly round and round within the apparatus.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Placement Test
  More Ideas and Technology by Keith Laumer
  Tech news articles related to Placement Test
  Tech news articles related to works by Keith Laumer

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