"You would not believe," a prof remarked, "here was this guy with a doctorate, and he listed Juggler on his resume."
This made perfect sense to me.
The conversation soon moved on, but I remained surprised. For me, to meet a juggler has always been to meet an intelligent person. In fact, to know that someone juggles is to instantly know that he/she is a competent, creative person in a skilled field which requires high intelligence. Juggling is the best way to tell.
The best programmers I know are all jugglers. Many amazing musucians, writers, scientists, engineers, and artists are jugglers. In fact, my time at the world championships was a revelation. I had never been in the company of so many professionals from around the world before. In fact, I doubt that I have kept such auspicious company since. I would venture to guess that I met more amazing people at the annual world championships than I did at the annual National Collegiate Honors Conference.
I suppose I can understand, however, why people would misunderstand juggers. When they think juggling, they think clowns, balloons, and cotton candy. At best, jugglers are thought to be the kindly but ignorant circus folk in Dickens's Hard Times. At worst, they're petty performers. Because jugglers do crazy things, we're thought to be crazy.
My friend Sarah is a juggler. She also happens to intimately know several ancient languages, programs computers, writes for a few magazines, and somehow finds time to be a master at Tae Kwon Do. She used to work for the Civil Air Patrol, but now she's looking at Oxford and beyond.
Sarah took an award in her category at the world championships.
My friend Jonathan Brownell is a juggler. In fact, he is a member of the Corvallis, Oregon Juggling and Unicycling Club. That's right. He can unicycle as well. But my friend Jonathan is not just a juggler. He's a concert pianist, a successful entrepreneur, an amazing writer, and a wizard computer programmer. When he was younger (he's a college graduate and a well-paid HP employee at 20 -- or is he 19?) he won his state's youth chess competitions many times in a row. In fact, his siblings pretty much have the state of Oregon all to themselves when it comes to chess. Incidentally, they are all jugglers.
Juggling is the secret handshake of highly intelligent, creative people. If you want to meet multitalented, focused individuals who have a real care for others, talk to jugglers.
Juggling takes a lot of time to learn. Learning to juggle is a solitary act in most cases, one that requires high mental focus and a will to improve. Thus, jugglers are almost always self-motivated people. They push themselves farther and farther, honing their skills to a high level of performance. And they love every minute of it.
But jugglers aren't only introverts. To be involved as a juggler, you need to learn how to juggle with other people. This highly intricate task requires a honed sense of teamwork. Most jugglers work well with others and can coordinate cooperation up to a high level of precision and efficiency. They realize the need for everyone to take part, the need for no one to take too prominent a place. Jugglers realize the complexities of the world.
Jugglers have fun through their efforts. This is why jugglers are most usually creative people. They take the effort, the practice, the precision of it all, and they turn it into something that's a little oddball, displays splashes of color and movement, involves performance and choreography, and makes people smile. Many of us juggle to relax from our day jobs. When I worked at HM Consulting in Lancaster, I would juggle every afternoon break. Juggling was perfect; I exercised, entertained, practiced, and relaxed by focusing on keeping the pins in the air.
Finally, Jugglers don't keep it to themselves. They love sharing the joy of the things they have discovered. Most jugglers are teachers of juggling. I am not surprised that the most intelligent programmer at HM Consulting took to juggling immediately. He was not surprised I was willing to teach him.
Juggler on the resume is an asset. For to juggle with someone for a short time would communicate more about the person in an hour than anyone could learn in days of questions or auditions.