Just doing my job

In which I thank myself with some flowers.

I have a thankless job and I’m happy with that, I feel awkward when I’m congratulated and just want to reply with “just doing my job, maam”. Ignoring the problem with referring to my manager as “maam” it also causes me problems in getting ahead in business.

The main issue is I belive my job (kind of like a
executive specializing in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration or a transponster) is a service job. It my my role to help others do their roles better. I’m a caddy or a buttress, I should only be noticed if I’m not doing my job properly.

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How to be a data analyst

In which I try to lift he fog of war on numbers and reveal it all to be a feint.

As a data analyst I have often believed that it is more important to look right rather than be right. Accuracy will always lose to style; it seems to be the way of the world. I have been told by previous managers that “these numbers don’t feel right” and “could I go and check them”. Later after changing nothing but the colour scheme and some borders the figures all of a sudden feel better.

Double Decker buses are also a standard unit
Double Decker buses are also a standard unit

It’s like evidence depends purely on the appearance of the information, this is why we live in a world where infographics seem to be the fad du jour. Losing a percentage of the rainforest each day can only be measured in Wales (a standard unit of measurement, much like Double Decker buses for length or Eiffel towers for height) rather than hectares.

I once ‘wowed’ a manager by placing a button on a spreadsheet that allowed him to print it off. The fact I had placed it directly below the print button in the toolbar (and it simply was a macro that replayed a press of that button) was beside the point. It was a button that printed.

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The great data swindle

In which plenty of mistakes are made with bad data.

I made a comment today that with the computing power in my scientific calculator we were able to send men to the moon and back, yet the computers at work often fall over because too many people are using them. In response someone mentioned that for a misplaced full stop a space shuttle crashed and that it is just human error. Perhaps this is the problem; the world has got too complicated. There is just too much data.

The BBC ran a good article yesterday about data overload and I think that it’s pretty insightful, we have more and more information at our fingertips than ever before in human history but is it just too much noise?

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Parenting is not a career option

In which I complain about the working hours but the boss don’t care.

One of my greatest frustrations with parenthood is how I’m told what a great job it is. You know what is a great job? International Cricketer or President of the Bacon Tasting Society. Parenting as a job kind of sucks.

Firstly, and most importantly, the pay is terrible. It is below minimum wage, in fact an internship is a better deal, and the holiday and sick leave is non-existant. Even rewarding vocations like teaching and nursing pay more and have less stress.

Being a parent means that you are on call all the time and the customers are real hard asses. It is nigh on impossible to make them happy. Any service you provide is too late and wrong, but you will not be told what is wrong you just have to decipher the blow up in front of your face.

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Putting on an Excel face

In which bravado is more important than accuracy.

A lot of living is pure bravado, there are enough challenges and setbacks each and every day that if you let it affect you then you would be a shuddering mess in the corner.

I manage to get through the day by pretending, if I didn’t it would make the day that much harder. Sometimes I have to pretend to be a calm and serene individual and this allows me to get through the morning commute, and then sometimes I have to pretend I know what I am talking about.

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