Friday, October 15, 2010

The numbers, they hurt me

I have an issue with numbers. They have always seemed like a foreign language to me. If I work hard and concentrate--a challenge in itself-- I can make them behave, but I don't enjoy it and it wears me out. In college, after struggling through calculus at my first school, I was delighted to discover that UW would let me use symbolic logic to fulfill a math requirement. I got to do math with words and pictures! (Yes, I was the weird kid who loved proofs in geometry class.)

 I also don't like to deal with financial things. I like to spend money, and I'm happy to earn it, but I don't really like to think about it too much.

So, of course, I'm our church treasurer. And I do a good job. As long as everything goes along as expected, it's only moderately painful. A former church secretary with an accounting background set up our system, and it works very well unless something changes, but it is complicated. Because of some changes, I have run up against a convoluted accounting issue that has had me pulling out my hair. I thought that I had a solution, provided by someone else with more knowledge than I have, but that solution only twisted things up more.

Yesterday I figured out why. And in that moment was grateful for my one semester of accounting and the fact that I understood--kind of--how different accounts work and why things were messed up. But knowing--intellectually--what the issue is and knowing how to fix it are two different things.

Last night I talked the issue through--out loud--with my mom and then with Bethany and made some headway. One idea that I came up with while I was talking to my mom is to draw some pictures, so that's today's plan. I'm going to draw a "map" of what the stupid numbers mean and I'm going to hope that it gets me to my destination.


Adriane said...

This is precisely why I cheated my way through math in grade school. Just sayin'.

Kim said...

Just because a person is good at math doesn't mean that a treasurer position is for them. I found that out the hard way as I am currently the financial manager for our local Sweet Adelines chorus. I hate the minutia! I've found I also really dislike all the paperwork. Honestly the most fun I've had was coming up with this year's budget :)
I'm looking forward to next fiscal year when I can hand the job off to someone else and take on something that has a little less paperwork!

Elephantschild said...

I'm trembling slightly just from reading your post.