So it looks like I get the joy of writing another end-of-the-week post–and I know on a Thursday, the last thing you want to hear is some NASEEHAT — patronizing advice– so I’ll make this as painless as possible.
Math was always my Dad’s thing. Math and Soccer.
and since I didn’t turn out to be some Brandi Chastain or Mia Hamm, my Dad really tried to amp up my Math skills. He would buy me the next year’s textbook for me to prep over the summer. He tried to push me to “proof” my geometry when I was in 5th grade. Basically, he made himself available in anyway when it came to ARITHMETIC, but I dreaded every single tutoring session with him, because it either ended in tears or some sort of fight.
My dad had a low tolerance for stupid mistakes, and he made it pretty clear that most mistakes were stupid.
I would beg my Mom to help me on my Math homework before my Dad got home. but somehow I always ended up on the couch, in misery as my Dad demanded I do my homework, the extra credit, and assigned me more problems that he would grade.
So by the time I left High School, I was ready to kiss MATH goodbye!
When I was picking a major in College, my dad wanted me to do Engineering, Math, Stats… you catch my drift… and I was quite content doing anything but. He threatened to not fund my education, so we met halfway…
Long story short, that didn’t quite work out later on (and my dad won’t ever let me forget it). But I did end up taking a whole sequence of Math classes, Stats, and some other sh!t with numbers. Now that I look back, I am so f#cking glad I did.
and I’ll never admit this to my Dad, but he was right. People who know how to work with Numbers usually get hired faster and get paid more. For a reason.
I didn’t realize it until this week, when I was on a work project that was so ugly and complicated, I craved a Xanax just to calm my anxiety. But my co workers were so excited to get their hands on it– as if Excel Spreadsheets like this were Picture Books to them that they would get to color and decorate! I thought they were crazy, until I started figuring out what I was doing.
And I’m not gonna lie, my brain hurt. But I have a new found respect for my job, my co-workers, and people who do this type of analysis work everyday. In whatever industry.
I always thought my Dad was in a nerdy bubble when he tried to tell me Math was Everything, but I think he had a point.
Numbers aren’t everything, but if you can do the Math– you can do a lot more.
By no means do I think the only jobs worthy of respect are the ones that deal with Excel and $$$. But I’ve come to see that ‘strong number skills’ do correlate with smarter and more successful individuals — in any career path.
I just think no Career Counselor tells you in College, that whether you want to work in PR or Law, you’ll be better off if you take some Statistics and Calc classes.
When I was switching majors to the humanities, there was only ONE class required that was very number-heavy. Um, Talk about being SET UP FOR FAILURE. How would I compete in a job market with everybody else then? How would I get a return on investment a.k.a my college education– if I can’t even land a job with my degree?
So while no college counselor clued me in to the fact that writing amazing papers would only get me so far, my dad drilled me on the daily “take de hard sciences” and now, I realize I owe him a lot for that. And while he was harsh, and there was a lot of pain involved in the way he tried to make me love Math– I think there was some truth to it all that I always wanted to deny. Its a valuable subject, with a really ugly rep.
Take it from me and load up on some of those Math classes- it hurts short-term, but it pays off in the long-term.
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