The World Goes On Below Us

Cool mornings remind me that summer is nearly over. Temps tomorrow morning are predicted to dip into the 30s, a first for Flagstaff this summer. Soon I will be plodding through blowing snow and drifts between classes on campus. Things are going well in my little world which consists mainly of the business building, my car during commutes, and my bedroom for a few hours of sleep each night. I have found that I get less depressed about my circular existence if I think of these collective activities as a job or career. By making it a duty to put in a full 14 hours before I can call it a day, if I get done by 8:30 at night, it makes me as happy as getting a paid Friday off work. Hopefully the mind game will outlive the semester. I need to leave the house by 7 to miss the school bus rush and the line at the coffee shop; otherwise, I must skip the coffee and spend time fuming in the queue of cars trying to get onto campus—both of which are unacceptable activities to yours truly.

Nevertheless, there are benefits. I am a part of the little family of nerds who call the business building home. Late at night, after the rest of the world has been shut out, we will be there, hunkered around a pizza in a deserted classroom, drawing pictures of Eric Cartman and Stewie Griffin (my specialty) on the whiteboards alongside impossibly complicated flowcharts. Speaking of which, I still need to install Visio on my new Windows 7 and get a project done. I keep putting it off. Only MBA students are more dedicated.

Also on the books is an accounting project for the business college that will take me all semester to complete. It involves analyzing costs of the past four years, creating tools to keep future data accessible and useful, and making a five year budget based on several metrics. I would love to build an Access database, but am a little intimidated by the talent here in the college surrounding me and my rudimentary knowledge of databases.

My dream of business analyst is almost realized. The other week I disagreed with a friend who thought anything was possible if only one’s mind was set on it. I still vehemently disagree, but lack proof of this in my own life. Perhaps, in response, I have lowered my dreams to be in the realm of attainable. I know that life is not fair; health, for example, can be there one day and gone the next. Regardless, I still confront the facts every day—that, for some reason, my dreams were different from my peers of childhood and youth. So in typical Jeremy-fashion, I try to assess the variables, remain skeptical of coincidence, but come up with little. Why did I park my backhoe on rainy days, dress up, and spend the day at the Ronald Reagan Building in DC or wander the halls of Deutsche Bank on Wall Street when all my peers were having kids and building their empires. Consultants and auditors were held in deep disdain, although no one had first hand knowledge of one—for their lack of common sense and their perceived inability to perform any form of manual labor—and now this is my lot? We knew they lived in the tall glass buildings, and we knew that such big buildings were incapable of holding good people because good people always worked with their hands. Why was it only I who ventured into their den? Why didn’t I have the same vision? I saw a connection between their principles and small business; every business was an opportunity for process improvements of motivation, quality, and efficiency. I decided to learn more about something called “business.” Yes, it’s happening fast, but it was a long time coming.