The last year or so has been a challenge at work that I have not only sullenly risen to meet but one in whose eye I have regularly spit.
How’s that for awkward?
It is, of course, no more awkward than the many reports I’ve been asked to pull and manipulate. Ask anyone at work and they’ll tell you: Pearl enjoys a good swift numerical beating. I am continually surrounded by aggressive, uncooperative numbers. Some of them black and haughty, others red and thumbing their negative noses in my direction, they swirl around my head, tangle in my earrings and cause me to say things like “Have you checked the date parameters?” and “Q2 is dead! Long live Q3!”
Don’t get the wrong idea. Some of my best friends are numbers. I once dated a number! But I’m a verbal kinda gal. I’m comfortable with the printed word, with speech. For example, when people start talking in circles? I’m quite good at getting to the heart of something, verbally. I’m not one for the ol’ “for the purposes of this argument, we’ll use this word to mean this.” No, sorry. We won’t. Any time someone wants to amend the meaning of a word, it’s because they want that word’s dignity to be associated with what they’re about to sell you.
Pay no attention to the poop on the sidewalk! We prefer to call it “urban mousse”.
Hmmm. I don’t know where that came from.
Ah, yes. Numbers.
While I may have a good solid grasp on the English language and can understand other languages what are close to it, I’m afraid I might be one of those people who can be duped out of money through numerical chicanery.
“Do you have change for a twenty?”
No. No, I don’t; and even if I did, I would tell you that I didn’t, because within a couple exchanges, I will have given you a twenty, there would be some fast-talking, perhaps some flirtation, and I’d walk away with a ten-dollar bill, red-faced and wondering what the hell just happened.
It hasn’t happened yet, but it could.
I don’t know. I don’t know where I went wrong. One day I knew exactly what I was doing, the next day I was being asked to pull together a monthly forecast by region and would I drill down to the office level and include columns speaking to the percentage of change from one week to the next.
I said, “Of course,” but I didn’t know what I was getting into.
Claudia tells me I’m just that much more a valued employee, that I’m “knowledge-based”, which I think is sneaky-number-talk for “fast 10-keyer”. I’m on to her.
So I take copious notes and ask a lot of questions, because when times are hard and you’re given the opportunity to add on to your skill set, you do it. I’m no dummy.
Now if I could just get the ringing, elfin laughter of the numbers out of my head...
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