Thursday, May 19, 2005

Exam is over; other thoughts take over

I just had my exam this morning. No, I am not a student. Technically, I am not, but I do take professional exams, which are held twice a year.

Am now mentally drained. It was my third time for the same paper. Really hope that it was my final goodbye. Though you won’t be missed, Exam M.

While I was outside the exam hall this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder when I recognised the many familiar faces. These are the people who are in the same boat as me. What keeps them coming back, time after time, failure after failure? What keeps ME coming back?

I started taking the professional exam at end of 2001. I passed the first paper. I took the second one end of 2002, but failed. On the second attempt in 2003, I passed. I had two papers under my belt. And so it has been ever since.

One of my friends jokingly asked, when should we change careers? She also has two papers so far. There are six more to go. Based on my record so far, it would probably be at least another eight years to complete.

The problem is not that I don’t like exams. Or even the subjects. It’s the price (opportunity costs?) I have to pay in time and effort. At this point, my parents would be quick to add that, it’s better to suffer now and then enjoy later. Which I do not disagree.

You know exams, right? It takes up a lot of time. I have been cooped up at home for the past two weeks. It used to be bearable. But now, I feel that it’s not worth it.

I came out of the exam hall feeling good. Which did not mean anything as the exam was relatively easier and thus passing mark should be higher. The results will be out early July.

The question which has been nagging me is, whether I should continue on this path or not.

On one hand, the end picture is good, if I do manage to pass all the papers. It’s more money that an average person can earn in a year. Besides that, employment would not be an issue anymore.

As I was doing my revision, my mind was thinking about other things (besides feeling sick of all the formulas). I want to do other things. To read, to learn. Not just the numbers and figures that I have been doing. (And by the way, I am not an accountant). I want stuff that stimulates me intellectually. There are so many books waiting for me to devour. I want to do things which I love to, like helping others. I have been thinking of volunteering for organisations like Befrienders or Pink Triangle, but it has remained just so – a thought.

I can’t do this when most, if not all, of my free time is devoted to studying for the exams.

Perhaps I want things too fast. Perhaps the time has yet to come. After all, self-actualisation is at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It is true that I have yet to satisfy the other needs.

Still, I think this is an apt time to reflect on my career. I have been working for exactly one year. The job is good. Pay is above average. Work time is pretty much fixed with hardly any overtime. Furthermore, I have learnt a lot in the past year and there are many more opportunities to learn.

Yes, there are more plusses than minuses at my work place.

You might have guessed it. I work in a semi-government organisation. When I first joined, a colleague warned me against getting too comfortable and not wanting to leave.

Is that what is happening to me?

Anyhow, I am planning to apply to a few positions. Just to see what the job market is like now. It would probably help me decide what to do.

All these thoughts have been coming up for the past week. Must be due to me having only exams on my mind and away from work.

Perhaps it would all go away when I return to work tomorrow?

Nah, I will still apply anyway. It’ll probably do me good.


loopy said...

i can't help it but are u an actuarist? or at least studying to become one?

Derek said...

Yes I am. I am curious as to how you would have guessed. Do you know someone else who is?