I got in work very early on Monday. A coworker was returning from vacation and I wanted to have something done in advance of his return. Work started for me at 6am and I was largely finished by the time he got into work. I told him what I had done, he told me to make some changes and I spent the day making them. One or two parts were rather tricky so it wasn’t until the end of the day that I finished. I shot the lead a note that I was done but it probably needed some clean-up and asked to talk in the morning.
This morning, I arrived and the lead shot me a message of “for time’s sake, let me make the fixes and I’ll go over them when I’m done”. Seven hours later he messages me. “Done, please do an editorial review.” Cool. I open the work file and almost nothing of my work remained except for two things: Modifying the color of the column headers and a single calculation. I wasn’t mad or upset, but smirked at how wrong I had been. How absolutely off-base I had been with my assumptions, how naively I treated calendar year accounting, and how underdeveloped my accrual calculations had been. I started laugh. A non-actuarial coworker heard me, and asked what was funny.
Me: Imagine someone asks you to make a sandcastle and after getting some basic instructions you do it. You finish and you look at it and go “eh, not bad. Could use work though.” You tell the person who requested it that you’re done and they say “I need to make a few changes” and you think “I guess I didn’t nail it but I helped!”. At the end of the day you come back and see a completely new sand castle there. So new, in fact, you think they trucked in their own sand because it’s not even same color. On closer inspection you do see that they did use some of your work: a single plastic figurine you had added to yours was preserved. Then the person asks you to check their sand castle to make sure it conforms to what they wanted.