Friday, January 11, 2013

? + customer = cheesus

I am no math genius, but I am also not bad.  I have not been in school for a long time, but I will have you know that in college, I was offered a math tutor position but turned it down.

Anyhow, I am not scared to work with numbers.  I used to be when working with the public because I didn't want to look stupid if I made a mistake.  But over the years I've realized that you just have to work out numbers with your customers and do it over and over and in different ways until they feel comfortable.  If you think you figured something wrong, do it again.  And again a different way.  There is no shame in making sure your figures are right.  And if you prove yourself wrong, at least you've done it then and not made some expensive accounting error.

The point of this set up is to show how I strive to be accurate with numbers, but am also willing to admit that I make mistakes.

Imagine my extreme frustration when I am working with a customer and one of my male co-workers and we are trying to work out a problem that involves a lot of numbers and my male co-worker is making up a lot of math rules that don't make sense.  I try to create graceful situations for him to correct himself.  These can backfire, giving him ground to assert his incorrect answers.  At that point, I have to step in,  put on my person-in-charge hat, ask him to go take care of other business and then work out, sometimes on paper, the problem with the customer.  But the customer is often reluctant to give up the original ideas laid out by my male co-worker.

Just because a man does math doesn't mean he does it right.

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