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Friday, November 14, 2014

Hold On. I'll Just Need to Take my Shoes Off for a Moment...

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.

Huh?

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...

20 comments:

vanilla said...

Oh, numbers will laugh at you. No, they are not "laughing with you."

sage said...

So, do you have change? I don't mind numbers, but prefer words.

joeh said...

I think "knowledge based" means you know what you are talking about and not just bull-shitting.

But then, why wouldn't people just say that?

Glen Staples said...

tricksy bastards, numbers. Oh they pretend to be your friend, lover even, but then they sell you out faster than a coked up estate agent with an empty flat with no damp.

Daisy said...

Numbers are sneaky sorts, and they are not to be trusted. I argue with them every time I balance the checkbook. Sometimes they win, but sometimes I am the victor, and I tell you those days when I win are very good days indeed! My family members all know that they are not to disturb me when I am trying to balance the checkbook. :D

jenny_o said...

Maybe you could use your sharp stick from yesterday to keep those numbers in line. They should respond to a little eye-poking, I think.

fmcgmccllc said...

Love Claudia blowing smoke up your butt.

Really, I imagine you are a first rate and valued employee.

Catalyst/Taylor said...

I used to be good with numbers. I was a Math major in college, for crying out loud. But in recent years I find I can no longer trust the calculations I have long done in my head. I have to write it down on paper and stare at it before it becomes real. Be thankful that you already have that problem. That way you won't seem demented later in life.

Elephant's Child said...

Numbers are tricky and deceitful. They pretend that they are the same all the time - but positive numbers can be negative (think on those that leer at us from a scale). And they are not averse to bludgeoning us into submission.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Ornery little blighters, are the numerical race... a language worth the learning though - which I suppose is why you sought the upskill. Or should that read uphill? Knock 'em for six gal! YAM xx

Silliyak said...

Powerful politicians agree that numbers are not to be trusted, so.....uh, where was I going with this...

fishducky said...

An old accounting joke: A man asks "How much is 2+2?" and his accountant says "What do you want it to be?"

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

You make me happy that I am home now and don't have a paying job. I no longer contemplate numbers, except for counting the spider webs in my house (and my mind).

Chicken said...

Oh Pearl, the numbers in my world love to play hide and seek (wait, i just updated them yesterday? Where are they?). And they are masters of disguise. (wait, I didn't put that there. I put it ____, I know I did. Sigh. The numbers, they do not like this chicken. They toy with me on a daily basis.

Rose said...

Urban mousse??? I got stuck on that expression you came up with! I have never heard that term but if my faltering memory can remember it, I shall find some time to use it!!!

Geo. said...

As a consequence of Georg Cantor's diagonalist proof that the real numbers are uncountable (and the rationals countable) it follows that almost all real numbers are irrational. Consider yourself sane.

River said...

I have a notebook with columns of numbers detailing my incoming and outgoing, as long as the outgoing doesn't overtake the incoming I'm happy.

Linda O'Connell said...

I can unscramble a word in seconds, but numbers send me scrambling. You are wise to diversify :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

Numbers are not my friend.
I hope they become kinder to you, pearl.
xo jj

Pat Tillett said...

I used to love numbers and was a whiz for most of my life. Now, it takes me much too long to figure out how much to leave as a tip.