Math I never thought I would use in real life…

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Math was never my strongest subject.  I make jokes about it a lot. I tell people that my older brother, an accountant, got the math gene while I got the good looks. Learning long division in 4th grade had me in tears. In high school, thinking that I wanted to become a Marine Biologist, I had to take university level math prep courses – I failed…twice! So, it made sense that when deciding my career path and planning for college, I specifically chose programs and courses that had zero math because, let’s face it…you’re never gonna need to know this stuff in real life, right? WRONG!  Somehow, for the last 11+ years I’ve been working in a job that involves math – a lot of math.

When I began to work in the customer service department at Albarrie, my fear of numbers came back to haunt me. Nevertheless, I figured that sales math is nothing more than basic multiplying, adding and subtracting, right? Sure – that’s sales math. But working with Engineers and Technicians in Aluminum Extrusion industry has taught me a lot. Quoting engineered items such as rollers, roller sleeves, spacer bar sleeves, pads and even rolled goods requires more in-depth math than I ever thought I would need to know in real life.  Geometry & Algebra were my nemeses in high school but at work, words like ‘perimeter’, ‘area’ and ‘circumference’ were tossed about. I had to remember what the difference between ‘diameter’ and ‘radius’ was. Conversions of metric to imperial, calculating angles and even using Pi in costing formulas was commonplace and I could no longer pretend that math was something I’d never need. Luckily, I had co-workers and supervisors that were patient with me. They showed me, often more than once, how to get to the answer.

Persistence and patience paid off and I surprised myself how easy it became when you apply it to real situations. Though it will never be my favorite subject, math isn’t all that scary and sometimes, it’s even fun…just don’t tell my 4th grade teacher that!

by S. Craig

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