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This was in a collection I read in the 80s. Target group was Young adult and I think the theme was education, entering adulthood, etc. I can't recall the names or characters. Collection was hardback. This is one of two stories in this collection I am curious about and will post about.

It was a short story where everyone gets assessed at end of their teenage years for their roles in life. This bright but lazy kid gets assessed and finds he's been assessed for a menial job where he'll probably have brain surgery to keep him happy in it. Nothing is to happen for a few days.

Panicking and angry, he goes off, changes records, hacks into the systems and alters the aptitude machines so they changes his assignment and he becomes an executive with unlimited perks. Then he meets a stranger who reveals it was all a test to poke him out of his apathy because the city needs the brightest people to keep running, but needs them motivated. If he hadn't cheated he would indeed have been lobotomised, etc.

marked as duplicate by user14111 story-identification Dec 25 '17 at 3:46

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Sounds like Placement Test by Keith Laumer collected in Nine by Laumer and Future Imperfect. Mart Maldon is assessed as not being qualified for anything but menial work and he'll be "adjusted" so he'll be content at those jobs. He figures out how to rig the machine, so his synapses won't be burnt out and goes on to hack the test to show he's qualified to do highest level work. The ending is he's told by the Chief Executive, they do that as a test to find superior individuals who can solve problems and react quickly.

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  • The story is available at the Internet Archive, here and here. – user14111 Dec 25 '17 at 2:17
  • Thank you - That's it - I am in your debt! – Sedition Dec 25 '17 at 3:33

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