Statistics cannot be trusted

I kind of feel guilt that I am blogging instead of preparing for tomorrow. What is on tomorrow you ask? Do you still remember that I had my first job interview ever on the 16th of February? I received a call last Wednesday that they want me to come back for another full day assessment. In German it is called “Probearbeitstag” – which translates into “Trail working day” and it is set for tomorrow.

I wonder how a trial working day would look like. I am applying for the position of IT Project Manager. Would they want me to execute a case study on project management? They are aware that I have no knowledge of their ERP system, which is not Oracle. So they cannot expect me to work on their system. Then I was reminded of a point they mentioned during the interview. Given the small size of the company, some controlling tasks would also fall under the role of the Project Manager as well.

I remembered the numerous reports and statistics I have gone through in my career life so far. I hated being presented with a number or value, which I had to explain. How do I know where the 1 Million Euro difference comes from? Before I could explain a difference, I had to first verify how the numbers were calculated. (I know it is a repetition of tasks but it is also a matter of doing my job well.) I tried to find out what formed the basis of calculations or which exchange rate was taken to convert the currencies. Even rounding differences could add up to a substantial amount when there are thousands of transactions. These points usually helped in clarifying a part of the difference and I knew what I was supposed to clarify.

I am registered as unemployed since we returned from our RTW trip last April. Between August and December, I attended courses to get certified as a Project Manager. But I was officially not part of the unemployed statistics during this period, although I was still looking for a job. Therefore when it was reported in the news that the unemployment rate has gone down in the last quarter of 2011, I wondered how much was attributed to job seekers attending training courses.

See what I mean? Why it is not good to trust any statistics? Especially those you did not create yourself. There are so many possibilities to manipulate data and the way they are presented. Therefore keep that in mind the next time you get worked up because of some numbers you have read in the newspapers.

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Cultural Experts – An Endangered Species?

I grew up in a country, which is a melting pot of many racial groups. Chinese, Indian, Malay and Eurasians all live together in close proximity. Cultural diversity was nothing special in my childhood. It was normal for me that my best friend next door was called Li Ling. As a child I learned about the different cultural and religious beliefs both at school and through exposure in my everyday life. There were times I was not happy that my friends could do something that I was not allowed and often got to hear, “It is because we are Indians. Good Indian girls do not do such things”. Continue reading

Fungus killed the VHS star

When I was about ten years old, I remember my dad owning a VHS camcorder. It recorded directly onto VHS cassette tapes! The whole concept of moving pictures entranced me and I loved being behind the camera. Whenever I was allowed to film, I had to heave the machine onto a shoulder. Looking through the viewfinder, I became aware of every tiny detail. I rejoiced the victorious imprisonment of the moment for all eternity on tape. Little did I know that mould and fungus were my enemies in a futile fight against memories vanishing into the black hole of oblivion.

(Remember I told you that I was terrible at summary writing in school. Well this is my attempt in writing a super short story. I admit that it is not a masterpiece but hey at least I tried!)

Is Facebook losing its allure?

Recently one of my Facebook friends posted that she would be keeping away from Facebook because it is usurping her precious time and she urgently needs to concentrate on important tasks in her life. I know this feeling. I abstained from visiting my Facebook profile for about 2 weeks, while learning for my examinations last December. Continue reading

Blow out before Life burns out (Part 2)

Today we took a long walk partly along a river and partly through snow covered fields, forests and picturesque villages. It was freezing cold, about -10°C but I was dressed right for the weather because even my toes were warm during the walk. The serenity of our surroundings was disrupted by the ringing of a mobile phone. It was Mr. M’s and it was a call from someone at work. This brings me back to yesterday’s topic. Who is responsible for making our lives less stressful? Continue reading

TEDx Rhein Main – Continued

In addition to life enrichment, there is another great thing about experiencing something extraordinary. Afterwards there is enough substance to engage one’s thought in the form of flashbacks. That is why I am writing another blog about the Tedx event in Offenbach yesterday. After all, there were many other highlights and lowlights.

To begin with, there was Gunter Dueck. He is an author, who used to be a professor und has worked as CTO at IBM. I am assuming that the way he presented yesterday is part of his stage persona. He impersonated an introverted IT specialist, who mumbled a lot. It was entertaining in an open mike performance sort of way. Continue reading

The Quantified Self

Have you heard the terms “Quantified Self” or “Self-tracking” before? I have to admit that I have heard them for the first time last week. A radio talk show host was kind of against the idea of self-tracking. She saw this leading to others knowing about her personal data like when and how often she has gone to the toilet that day and what she ate for breakfast, etc. I find her stance on this topic absurd. After all self-tracking does not necessarily mean, you have to publish your personal data to the world but you can if you want to. It is like just because there is the functionality to upload photographs on Facebook you do not have to upload photos of you dancing on a table with a bottle of vodka in your hand but you can if you want to. I guess it depends on how extroverted and “exhibitionistic” you are. Continue reading