Friday, December 31, 2010

new year's revolutions

it was a thursday.  the last thursday of the year of two thousand and seven, before the weekend plus new years bonanza that offered my partner and me a long awaited break on the worst project during my time in consulting.

the project was the worst for several reasons.

a) during the financial crisis, there were a lot of companies going bankrupt.  this was one of them.  our data indicated that they were about to land in a heap of deep, smelly, toxic, never-get-your-foot-stuck-out-of-the-swamp shit, to the point where there was no return.  the company was never going to have the money to pay us for any sort of project that we were going to propose to them, because they were probably going to be worth somewhere in the vicinity of negative 100 million dollars. (not exaggeration)

b) our boss, a little aloof and unaware of the hardware requirements for exact precise multivariable statistical modeling, basically made us tweak a model that said they were going to lose a bajillion dollars, to get it to maybe say they were going to lose, around $5.04 less than that.  (ok, that might be an exaggeration)  only, miscommunication as to what he wanted made us not exactly sure what to do and we basically created lots of iterations of the model.  this always took hours for a computer to process, and if you made a small error, you had to process the whole model from the beginning.  think of the frustrations of an average computer science course and multiply them by around 10.  or some exponent of that, because computing problems can become exponential when it comes to data processing.

in case you didn't understand all that, it fucking sucked balls.

c) there are a few problems inherent with adding more variables of precision of multivariable statistical modeling.  all data pertaining to periodical financial payments suffer from the same problem no matter how "good" you get your model, because data are (can you believe it, data is the plural form of datum, so "data are" is correct here as weird as it sounds) either incomplete or obsolete, due to the imperfections of data gathering and constantly changing macroeconomic conditions that are unpredictable.

d) basically, because of all that, my partner and i essentially spent most of the past two months (during the time when things are usually relatively slow) staying late doing work that had around a 1% chance (probably not exaggeration) of ever amounting to a billable project.  we were just cogs in the proverbial machine, doing useless drivel just for the sake of being "employed" doing something.


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the hum of the fridge tempted me.  tempted me to walk closer, and grab another coke.  another coke for my sanity, along with one of those chewy chocolate chip granola bars.  god damn it, i'm going to get something out of this shitshow of a situation, as i chomped on my granola bar.  ah shit, that just means i'm going to get fat.  so basically, i lose again.  STUPID PROJECT.  ah, i'll take a water.  MULTIPLE waters.  take a shitload of them HOME, gotta take a little for my trouble right?  i was going nutso.  crazy even.

2007 was a rough year.  it had been a rough time.  growing pains had been excruciating, i would imagine that certain extenuating circumstances probably made them more so than the average young adult coming out of college.  a lot of pressure and responsibility had been squared on my shoulders, and i was pretty close to a mental breakdown.  time was slipping out my grasp, and i was getting left behind.

i thought back to the first project i had at my job.  how i quickly met extreme amounts of adversity over a situation that was blown way out of proportion and how i suffered through that experience.  was it worth it?  there was just a cocktail of unfortunate circumstances that made me really depressed about everything, the way my life was headed and where it was at that point.  i remember my sister's college friend (who was on the project with me), reassuring me, "though you may not believe it about yourself, you are different from most people.  i know that because i know you and i know your sister.  i have faith that you'll stick it out, you'll become stronger, and that you will do amazing things.  just be patient for the right opportunity."


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we had just finished the latest iteration.  it was time to take the next few days easy, for the new year was going to arrive.  i bid my partner goodbye and walked home along quiet park avenue.  i remember walking through the snow covered beautiful bryant park area on my way home, and promising to myself that as shitty as 2007 was, 2008 was going to be something different.  the course of my life will change, and it'll be drastic.  but i can't keep wallowing in self pity, i've got to go out there and make shit happen, because shit won't just happen on its own.

because shit's just nasty on its own.  jay kay.

i like to think of it as new year's revolutions.

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as 2010 comes to a close, i find myself making the same promises to myself as i have 3 years ago.  let's hope i'm right about it, again.

carpe annum.

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