Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Party Like an Actuary - Opinion

In my last piece, I talked about how sex appeal is never the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks of actuaries, when in reality it’s been there all along. The other thing that we tend to hide from the world is our propensity to throw excellent parties.
It’s almost like a super power.  That geeky numbers guy (or gal) in the cube next to you has the ability to transform into table dancing fool given the right opportunity. And as you may well know, we like to give ourselves plenty of opportunities.
I think the desire to destroy brain cells is nature’s way of saving us from ourselves.  If we left our mathematically inclined brains to their own devices, they’d end up spending every waking moment figuring out algorithms to reduce model run time, the significance of certain stochastic scenarios, and how exactly to profitably combine long term care with an insurance or annuity product.  This would cause us to avoid eye contact with other human beings entirely, we’d only communicate via email, and even when we’d sleep we’d hum quietly.
Thankfully we have exams that require us to celebrate finishing, and then later to celebrate passing or mourn failing. We have promotions. We have ASA and FSA credentials to celebrate.We have company anniversaries, and just in case any one of those things hasn’t happened in a while, 3:00 on a Friday can be reason enough.  Most of the time, the festivities are limited to a few beverages before the last bus leaves downtown.  But sometimes the party may manifest itself in the form of a golf outing, summer barbecue, a sporting event, or even bicycling. The beauty of partying with actuaries is the amazing upside potential that any given party can bring.  Just ask any actuary, and I’m sure they can tell you a story or two about a time that got a little crazy.
Now, so far the discussion has been limited to actuary exclusive parties.  Throw in mixed company and it’s like alien space monkeys landing in Vegas. I hear time and time again from non-actuaries that they never expected to have so much fun, or such a wild time, with actuaries. As I’ve listen to the awe inspired comments, I’ve come to appreciate that we keep this skill a secret. As long as the bar is set low, we will always astound our non-actuary friends. So keep on chugging along my fellow risk modelers, because you never know when you’ll be called upon to party like an actuary.

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