This blog will be a detour from travelling chronicles – watch this space in the coming days to discover my magical journey through the Costa Rican rainforest. This blog is about my current role at work. Believe me when I say it is super exciting as we will talk about a secret tribe of human beings called – ‘Actuaries’ who are my business partners.
The dictionary definition of an actuary is a person who compiles and analyzes statistics and uses them to calculate insurance risks and premiums. In essence, think big data and lots of math to make predictions that enable a company to do business while meeting all regulations.
When I was going to take the role, I got a lot of warnings from well-intentioned people saying they were challenging to work for, etc… (Read more about this in this blog post.). I was pleasantly surprised when I felt grateful that they were my business partners. Some days they are the best part of my job!
And it took me a few weeks to figure out why I found it so enjoyable. Because they are kind of my tribe – how you ask? Well, for starters, I can say what I want, and they can say what they want – and we do not take it personally. How liberating is that? I am instinctively very direct but polite. I do not beat around the bush.
However, most people at work and in the world are not that way – so the Universe had to put me through certain hoops so that I had to learn how to charm people who were not direct like me. And one of those lessons was working at British Telecom. Getting a straight answer from old white British men was maddeningly frustrating. The entire British culture is based on not saying what you want. All my emails started with apologies, and every sentence had a please in it. But I survived it for five years – you think I would have learnt my lesson, right? Universe decided I still needed to learn more as I married somebody who also does not believe in ‘getting to the point of the conversation’, and my so-called direct and stark nature had to be severely modified.
Somewhere along the last decade or so, I must have learnt my lesson as I have now landed this role where utter and complete transparency is the only way to be!
Directness is one aspect – the other aspect of working with Actuaries is their need to dig and dig and dig.. until I have nothing left to hold onto. They will dredge up things that I may have never articulated to myself in the first place. And this is true for every single decision in every single meeting. No issue is trivial enough to be brushed aside lightly. So, I have to bare my soul professionally at all times. One would think it would be very uncomfortable. Surprisingly, I find it liberating because a) I have nothing to hide and b) I appreciate their help in ensuring I am or we are making a better decision. And I have very little interest in being right or knowing more than others. Thank god – I am very comfortable with who I am.
I am grateful for my meditation practice, which helped me accept and surrender to this instead of resisting it. The thought of why they needed to know rarely crossed my mind because I was going with the flow. Don’t get me wrong, I push back when necessary, and it’s met with open arms and not defensiveness. I am grateful that they exhibit this behaviour because they must do this to ensure our company can hold its promise to its members and customers. We do not want to leave even a tiny pebble left unturned. We have to shine a light on the dark corners.
Also, as a bonus, they are super smart and intelligent, a blessing and a rare occurrence in most corporate places.
I don’t know about others, but this is a breath of fresh air for me – speaking my mind and discussing things that cause disagreement intelligently. Is that too much to ask for?