The Foundation Series are Science Fiction stories written by Isaac Asimov, about a mathematician named Hari Seldon who comes up with a science called “Psychohistory”. “Psychohistorians”, in the story, were able to build models based on statistics and social laws applied to large groups of people in order to predict the general flow of future events. I thought that these books were amazing, it’s probably the only Science Fiction story I have ever heard that themes around statistics, and concepts such as deviations or the central limit theorem are brought up, since “Psychohistory” couldn’t predict the outcome of a single event, but only on a large scale. I was very impressed by these ideas, and along with other interests they drove me to study Physics, I thought maybe I could find a job that was as cool as the “Psychohistorians”.
However, after I came across this career and learning what is about, these stories came back to me and they sounded awfully similar to what Actuaries do, maybe the great Isaac Asimov himself didn’t know what an Actuary was like most people. For me, being an Actuary is a bit like science fiction, we apply mathematical concepts to provide solutions for events that have not happened yet.
I never pictured myself in a business environment. People in suits, marble floors and the financial district always seem very intimidating for me. But I have come a long way, and learned that in order to pursue this cool “science fiction” career there were things I needed to work on and I always half expected to have a catch.
To begin with, in my opinion someone with an aptitude for Math or Physics is typically someone very smart for numbers but sometimes lazy or poorly disciplined, and no matter how smart you are no one can pass an actuarial exam without spending countless hours studying. This was my first challenge, to become a dedicated student. Then there was the business acumen challenge, learn how to talk in front of an audience, communicate in a foreign language and learn foreign manners (although I am the foreigner), sell my ideas and being able to explain and understand technical details with my coworkers. This has been the biggest challenge for me, and remains to be so.
Only the motivation of having the job that I want, helps me to endure being outside my comfort zone and drives me to work on improving my weaknesses… what about you?