Nancy Barber (nlbarber) wrote,
Nancy Barber

On being a statistical outlier

In the mail last week arrived a large envelope from ASBOG, the American Society of State Boards of Geology. And in it was a letter saying "You have been selected by your State Board of Registration to assist ASBOG in an important nationwide study of the geology profession. This study will maximize the relevance of the questions on the national licensing examinations to reflect the important tasks performed by professional geologists."

Well, OK, I am a registered geologist--once I passed the exams when I was fresh out of college, paying the biennial fee seemed like cheap insurance in case my career took some radical turn. And Georgia doesn't have a continuing education requirement, so that's all I have to do to keep the license. Someday I might even get to use the impressive seal I bought.

But I'm working in a very narrow area that can hardly be called hydrogeology--I collect and report water usage information, and I generally focus on the database side of things. So all the questions on this sheet that want to know how much of my time is spent identifying minerals and rocks, or interpreting paleoseismic history, or sediment provenance--let's just say, they'll be wondering just what it is someone is paying me to do. Even the ethics issues questions were mostly "never encountered", as my government job just doesn't seem to make me encounter (or maybe I just don't become aware of) the violations.

I sure hope ASBOG has a nice large sample size....

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