A new start

There are so many things that I want to tell you, but I can’t. Some I can’t tell you for confidentiality reasons. Others I can’t talk about because they’re too embarrassing for those involved. Needless to stay, I have started my new job with a bang. I’m now fully immersed into corporate life, paddling my way around the ocean of pensions and taking in all of the scenery as I swim by.

Before I even get into the limited amount of things that I can tell you, I just want to say this: Pensions are really interesting. I don’t care if you don’t believe me, but they are! Now I work in pensions, I spend a lot of my time thinking about my own retirement (only 43 years to go!) and how I can better prepare for it. Now I’ve seen the numbers, my plan is to simply turn my pension contributions up to as high as I can afford and just leave them there.

Speaking of numbers, it’s very interesting working with real financial data. It’s strange to think that all of these mathematical calculations I’m doing are actually for real people with real money. Over time, thanks to the British education system asking me to calculate answers to ridiculous exam questions, I’ve become used to doing maths for the sake of it. It’s quite nice that a skill that I have can actually be of use to somebody, rather than being something that I simply pursue out of interest.

I’m very much enjoying life as an actuarial trainee, but I’m acutely aware that may be because I don’t currently have any exams to study for. The actuarial exams are notorious for knocking people for six, so I want to get through them as quickly as possible. As well as my colleagues, I’ve been asking the actuaries of Reddit for advice about how they went about passing their exams and I’m determined to put all of their experience to good use in designing my own revision plan. I might even build a spreadsheet to track how much time I’m putting in and keep myself accountable.

I’ve been doing a lot of work with spreadsheets over the last month. Before I started working at KPMG, I thought I was quite advanced at Microsoft Office, but I’ve learned more about Word, Outlook and Excel in the last month than I have in the last year. I was warned about the steep learning curve at my induction, but I expected it to be regarding the work!

The tasks that I’ve been given so far have been stimulating and challenging, especially given that I’ve not done any maths whatsoever for more than three years. As all of my working life has been spent in the media, choosing to do something completely different has raised eyebrows all around. Fortunately, my maths muscle can still flex and I’ve been battling my way through transfer values, balance sheets and data analysis.

Despite being older than most of the graduates, I didn’t feel out of place at the induction at all. The three day course was fantastic – not only did I get to meet hundreds of the new starters who joined KPMG in September, but I also got to find out everything I could possibly want to know about the firm.

I’m biased here, but KPMG really is a fantastic company to work for – and I mean fantastic. I’ve been constantly amazed by how great a company it is. It has exceeded my expectations by far. Competitive, challenging, yet still friendly. The people are great, the work is rewarding and it’s such a nice place to be. The commute from Leicester to Birmingham is slowly taking its toll on me (or is that just the lack of sleep that I’ve been getting because of it?), but it’s worth it. (Ask me again in a couple of months.)

However, this throws up a problem for this blog. You see, I used to write about all of the things I was doing in the media…and now I’m not in the media. Partly, it was for my own records. It was really easily to look back before a job interview and write down a few examples of my work that would be worth highlighting. Now I don’t have that problem. I’m not looking for work and unless something terrible happens, I can’t imagine that I will be any time soon. I’ve reached a point in my life where this website needs me more than I need it.

I’d like to keep writing, but I’m not yet sure what about. Work-wise, here’s not much I can write about. I guess what I’m saying is, unless I continue telling you ambiguous (and boring) things such as how I did “something” at work involving “a big client”, I can’t really tell you anything about what I do. Maybe that’s why so many people don’t know what an actuary is – the one’s that have qualified can’t really talk about their work!

After almost three years of time and effort, resulting in more than 162 blog posts (since when did I have the time to write 162 blog posts?!), I’m a bit worried that I’ll no longer have anything to write about. Sure, I do other stuff outside of work, but as I’ll soon be revising for my upcoming actuarial exams, I wouldn’t want to (over)commit myself to writing something so dull that you probably wouldn’t even want to read it anyway. What’s the point in doing anything if you can’t give it your all?

I’ll be honest – I don’t consider myself much of a writer. A talker? Yes. Put me in front of a microphone and I’ll talk. Maybe I’ll start a podcast. Maybe I’ll use this blog as a platform to talk more about the interests that I have that no one really knows about. Maybe I’ll never write another post again.

Right now, the future of this blog is unknown. I can’t imagine this being the last update that I write, but the next one might not be next month and it probably won’t be about the same topics that it has been. If you have enjoyed reading this blog, I’m extremely grateful to you. You’ve kept me progressing throughout my career by giving me accountability. Every month, I had to do something, anything, otherwise I wouldn’t have anything to tell you. So, before I write another post, I think that it’s only right that I take some time to figure out a) what I want to write b) what I should write and c) what I can’t write.

Thank you for your understanding. A new start is happening for me and it’s only right that I reflect it here. How that manifests itself is yet to be determined, but it will be worth it. Keep the faith. I’ll be back, better than ever.

Take care,

Nathan

[dropcap background=”yes” color=”#333333″]And finally…[/dropcap]

While I was going to skip the “And finally” for this post (after an ever so slightly miserable ending) I thought I’d leave you with a story about my baby brother, how he got his name and why he’s not such a baby anymore…

If I never write another thing on this website, I just want to thank you for everything. We might have never met, we might never meet, but you gave me a reason to keep going at a time when I needed it most. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. If we ever do get a chance to meet, I hope that either I have enough money to buy you a beer or you’ve found enough value in what I’ve been doing to buy me one.

Keep doing you. You do it better than everyone else.

2 comments

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