One of the most frustrating descriptions of my job is that I’m “The Numbers Guy”. We’ve just done a personality profile exercise when I wasn’t in the “You like spreadsheets” group there was a few incredulous looks. He uses Excel so he must love writing formulas and doing tables?
What if I told you the answer to that was “kinda”, of course I take some pleasure from a well presented set of stats but I do it because I’m good at it (and helps pay the bills) but very few people ever dream of being an analyst when they are little. Even now at the age of 34 (just) I don’t wake up excited about the prospect of firing up a new .xls file.
Instead of being a numbers person what keeps me sane is the fact that I can use this skill to be a more creative person.
It helps in a number(!) of ways. For a start it pays the bills. I have made a good career of being an analyst and that has allowed to to travel, have a house and buy stuff. I have four full bookcases that I’ve been able to stock with stories of dragons, wizards, kings, boats, war, tigers, spies, and all sorts of adventures that stimulate my imagination. I’ve never been moved to tears by a VLOOKUP (anger maybe) but a good book stirs the emotions.
Doing a spreadsheet caters to one side of my brain so being able to write as well is a great comfort. I will never be able to create a work of great fiction but I do this blog to keep both hemispheres exercised. I’ve been told that I’m a strange analyst because I straddle both the quantitative and the qualitative.
In fact in one company I was both responsible for the daily reporting and preparing a social media strategy. The MI kept me busy but the tweeting kept me sane. Even now in my current role I can both analyse a campaign or a page and make suggestions as to what we should do.
When I have restricted myself from writing and just counted I have become a less interesting person, there are only ten numbers you can play and rearrange but 26 different letters. Doing this blog has helped me get out of a rut and carrying on with it helps to keep me happy.