I will never forget the guy who taught me how to do a vlookup. I was a 21-year-old intern with feeble Excel skills and he was a 29-year-old analyst with a whole arsenal of fancy formulas. That summer I came to a life altering realization: being an analyst is sexy.
When the kindergarten teacher asks her students what they want to be, none will stand in front of the class and proclaim, “Someday, when I grow up, I’m going to be a great analyst!” No high school senior enters college with dreams of spending her twenties shackled to columns of sales data. So why does that kid who stood on the monkey bars and announced to all of kindergarten that he would be an astronaut (or a cop or a teacher or a fire fighter or the kind of magician that saws himself in half…) why does that kid end up an analyst?
It’s because at some point, tainted by a siren’s song of rationality, that big white suit begins to look just a little too clammy. The years of training and simulations and eating freeze-dried food while dangling upside down and peeing in a bag and whatever else people do at astronaut school, all of that looks pretty uncomfortable. An ergonomic desk chair with its smooth lines and bouncy seat begins to looks pretty seductive. And then, suddenly, analysts become sexy.
Analysts have swagger: each paycheck and career step validates every life choice they’ve ever made up to that point. Analysts have power: they draw meaning from data dumps that no one else understands. But most importantly, analysts have a shit ton of disposable income.
Analysts wear labels, eat sushi, and drink good liquor. They go to conventions in Vegas and team meetings on the beach. Analysts are 23-year-old BMW owners. They can answer confidently when relatives ask where they’ve ended up since school. They go to their reunions. Analysts impress people.
So when that kid who wants a meaningful life grows up into that adult who wants a comfortable life, that’s when the analyst is born. Or at least, that’s when this analyst was born.