Thank you for being so mean

I have a consulting job for a test prep company. I assess the practice essays that people write.

I’m not a touchy feely person.  If you ask me whether these pants make your butt look big, I’ll tell you the truth.  And I won’t be all subtle either.  I won’t say, “Well, they look great, but maybe the grey ones would be better.”

Nope. I’ll say, “Well, since you asked, they do make your butt look big.  And see how these fat lumps show through on the side here?  Burn these pants! Go with the grey instead.”  Yeah…people don’t always respond well to that. But at least you won’t walk out of the house with a big ol’ lumpy bubble butt.  (You’re welcome.)

For these essays I assess, it doesn’t do anyone a lick of good for me to say, “The essay was great!  Maybe you could tweak it just a little bit at the end if you feel like it…”  Not helpful. They’ll bomb the test.  I tell them the parts that are good and I tell them the parts that are bad.

One of the test prep students emailed this to me today:


Thanks for being hard on her?  What?  I don’t remember being particularly hard on her.  I went back to review what I’d told her.  Oh yeah, now I remember!  I told her that:

“The first two sentences of your paragraph have nothing to do with the rest of the paragraph.  You started writing about economics but then wrote about something entirely unrelated to economics. It’s vital that the opening sentence of a paragraph matches the rest of the paragraph.  Kids learn that in the 3rd grade.  If you don’t follow that rule, the people assessing your essay on the test WILL notice and will deduct.”

Maybe the part about her not knowing something a 3rd grader should know came across as a little harsh.  Eh well.  It’s true.  My 3rd grader does know that.   This woman has a master’s degree.  Eventually someone’s gotta tell her the truth.  That’s what she’s paying me for.

Anyway, I love being thanked for being mean.


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