CNN Money has a neat page that lets you "rank your goals" (up to 15 of them) by pairing them up and asking you to choose between them.*

I was surprised that the option of having a family someday (not like I'm, y'know, dying to marry and settle down, but that I want to have that option if the right person comes around) ranked so highly, and that graduate school ranked so low. I suppose if I'd put "become a professor" instead it would have pulled it up some, but there are many things I value more than formal academic credentials. (Sherra Kerns tells me that I've got to at some point "pay my dues" if I want to be an engineering prof at a top-notch school. I told her yes, but that I wasn't ready to pay them right now.)

Anyhow, my randomly generated list, which is a rather poor approximation of what I'd actually like to do with my life... but makes for an interesting set of information anyhow.

Rank/Item Score
1. teaching others without financial compensation 92.4
2. starting the yellow house 89.4
3. perhaps having a family someday 74.2
4. being able to donate my time to nonprofits 71.2
5. the ability to schedule my own day 65.2
6. being able to write books 62.1
7. traveling around the world 47
8. starting my own company 43.9
9. going to graduate school 27.3
10. guaranteed income stream 18.2
11. a comfortable retirement 9.1
12. having cool computer and music stuff 0

*yes, I did go back and try to figure out what sorting algorithm they're using in the 5 minutes before my next meeting. My first thought was quicksort, but the big-Oh is less than n^2 log n and more than n log n. I've got to run now but I'd like to puzzle this through - I don't think it should be this hard but my brain's fried from not sleeping for two weeks... any suggestions?

Big-O table, for reference
# of items : # of questions
2 items = 1 question
3 items = 3 questions
4 items = 6 questions
5 items = 10 questions
6 items = 15 questions
7 items = 21 questions
8 items = 28 questions
12 items = 66 questions