The Murphy’s Law truth about your Year 12 results

Year 12 results

In 2015, VTAC took the romantic step of offering students their VCE scores via SMS, email, traditional mail and loom.

Murphy’s Law states that “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” but there are hundreds of sub-laws and corollaries that sit underneath it. Murphy’s Constant, for example, says “Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value”.

Catherine Armitage wrote about Murphy’s law in the Sydney Morning Herald last year and mentioned two more: Muphry’s Law – “If you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault in what you have written.” (Ain’t that the truth.) And Etorre’s Observation – “If you change queues, the queue you just left will start moving faster”.

I have another one for you, a distant cousin to Etorre’s Observation. It concerns Year 12 results.

If you bugger up your final exams and get a score that doesn’t reflect your hard work and talent, you will inevitably end up in professional circles where every single person with the power to give you a job considers your ATAR or your OP to be a perfect and unchallengeable predictor of your professional competence.

Conversely, if your score is so good that upon receiving it you reflexively utter a bewildered “What the fuck…?”, you can be certain that for the first few years out of uni you will deal exclusively with employers who take a stridently anti-elitist view of education, dismissing grades and results as utterly irrelevant.

Is there any way around it? No – it wouldn’t be a part of Murphy’s Law if there were.

Just take solace from Miller’s Law, which states that the number of objects an average person can hold in working memory is about seven. So you’ll forget soon enough.



An edited version of this article first appeared in the MyCareer section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

You can read the column – Benign to Five – in those papers every Saturday, and if you miss it, you can look it up online in the Workplace section of The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, WAToday and Brisbane Times. (I now wankishly call myself a “syndicated columnist” on my CV.)

Read more Haught newspaper columns

Comments ( 2 )

  1. ReplyDuncMan
    I have this picture on my fridge. I have two kids that have gone through VCE and the ‘Fuck it, Fuck it, Fuck it’ strikes a chord
    • ReplyHaught
      I'm so bloody pleased, Dunc.

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