When it's performance review season, all of a sudden you start getting mail about career management. What a coincidence. There are a variety of career management tools available, some mandatory, some optional. I gave one of the optional ones a shot, since it claimed to help me "manage my career and professional development", and as I already noted, I appear to have been promoted by mistake all these years, so maybe I should figure out how to get promoted for real.

This particular tool sends me to the Web site of an external company that was contracted by Microsoft to provide career guidance services. I went through the sign-up process and answered what seemed like a bazillion questions. You know you're in trouble when you're getting tired and the progress bar says that you're currently filling out questionnaire number 1 (of 3) and you're on page 4 (of 19).

Anyway, I make it through to the end of all the questions and the site offers suggestions as to what my ideal career would be, based on the personality characteristics I demonstrated in the questionnaire.

It says that I would do well working in the field of information technology and that the best company for me is one with well-established processes and procedures, where decisions are guided by practicality and pragmatism, a characteristic common to companies that are market leaders.

I don't know whether I should be disappointed that I didn't learn anything new or whether I should be relieved that I'm not missing out on my secret calling to be a topiarist or something.

(And I guess that having me work at Microsoft plays right into Google's hands, so it's a win-win.)