Actuarial Journal

May 27, 2016

Excited for the Actuarial division teambuilding session this weekend! I’m really lucky that I got accepted early enough to be able to take part this year. I also had a spontaneous idea of keeping a journal of the things I learn/do (the ones that aren’t confidential, at least) under the actuarial division, to keep track of my continuous journey as an actuary. Hello self, I bet you’ll only be able to keep at it for so long! Unless you’re disciplined enough, that is. Haha!

June 3, 2016

This week has been pretty chill. I was scheduled to have training sessions until the 15th. So far I have finished the MS Excel training by myself, and started going through the AXIS general liability overview web-based training. I have to do these with minimal supervision since people here are incredibly busy.

Brad gave me a personal welcome message on the very first day, and that gave an upper for my morale. I also like that people here are very supportive and helpful enough to guide me with the things I have to go through as a new hire. The only thing that annoys me a bit is how they keep shipping me with someone in our division, Tristan, who happens to be my friend. I don’t want him to associate with me the negative feelings of being bullied, and I fear that our friendship might spoil or something. Fortunately, he seems mature enough to handle the situation, and he doesn’t seem to mind still spending time with me in spite of all that unnecessary fuss about us. πŸ˜€

People (Tristan & co) usually ask me to have lunch with them, and it’s great that I can eavesdrop on their fun conversations (and “suffer” their incessant shipping). However, I tend to have lunch alone whenever Tristan is not around. I was scared at first but I realized it was actually pretty enjoyable, thanks to my online friends and vibrant online life.

I also miss having sir Stan as a daddy figure. He transferred to Singapore last week. Like him, I hope to find my ideal routine soon. I’ve been trying new study habits, so we’ll see which ones work best for me.

June 10, 2016

I underwent a new hire onboarding with many other new hires from different divisions of MBPS. We were taught facts about Manulife’s history, structure, the different systems, and many more through engaging activities for two whole days. Triumphs and failures (albeit shallow) forged acquaintances with a few memorable people. I was the only one from the actuarial services division, which was weird ’cause we’ve been expecting another new hire since last week who shares the same schedule with me.

I finally met him after the NHO. His name is Maki, and he is taking PMAM in my university. He is also a CPA and used to be part of MBPS investments division. He’s a pretty cool guy. So from then on we attended training sessions together. The one I enjoyed the most (so far) was sir Johnson’s Actuarial Control Cycle training ’cause I got to appreciate the actuarial process more, and picked up a few survival tips from him as well. And the one I liked the least was the surprise toastmasters workshop (impromptu double impromptu training!), for obvious reasons. But thanks to that activity, I got introduced to the new interns, one of whom was a former student of my mom. Small world!

Compared to the first week, this has been pretty draining for me. I feel like I still haven’t assimilated well yet into my environment. I can’t see myself as being truly part of the group of people I have lunch with, at least not yet. I shouldn’t be a full-on introvert at work, unfortunately… so I try hard and show my face to everyone in spite of myself (I finally got introduced to the whole division, thanks to Tristan’s insistence). Still, the fact that I still can’t find my routine is very very taxing. And that I got dragged into a recruitment program doesn’t help either.

I still have things to be happy about though. Like how my special someone’s name gets brought up in a lunch table conversation unexpectedly. And how Chris got his call from the HR department, thanks to the resume that I helped revamp. And that I successfully tested the boots I recently bought (it was meant to be! haha). Also, the list of work people I am semi-comfortable with is growing.Yay!

June 18, 2016

My training period ended this week supposedly, but some of them got moved to next week due to tricky schedules. The other big event is that I was finally assigned to a team! I discovered it when I brought up my June 17 leave to Brad, and soon enough I got reintroduced to the IVS team, my manager Lille, and my sole teammate Gio. We’re set to do some reserve movement analysis for a project. Yay?

I’ve also secretly been working on a way to filter the database of interstellar reactions to the needs of my research project, under the guise of learning VBA. But hey, that practice paid off. πŸ˜€ I was able to finish code that returns only the reversible reactions.

I’m very happy to have the day off yesterday actually. Aside from attending graduation practice and finally getting to claim my documents from the registrar, I got to spend quality time with my best friend Chris, who went to MBPS for two interviews and an exam this week. I really hope he gets accepted to my division!

June 24, 2016

Good news everyone! I finally got my company email, Citrix & Lotus notes ID, and GGY account. I’ve also been able to understand some of the things in the documents that I had to read. I really appreciate that the people who previously worked on the project were so willing to help me out, as well as my teammate Gio. Thanks to having a work email I was also able to complete the mandatory training modules for new hires, half of which were in french (why would they even require those???)

One of my coworkers, Glenn, found me having lunch alone. Having been in the actuarial industry for 8(?) years, I asked him what advice he would give to someone who’s just starting their career like me. He provided a lot of confidential context and really did his best to explain his answers to me. In a nutshell: First, he said to build and exercise routine and not neglect one’s health. Also, it is very important to learn to understand and improve the way one manages emotions and copes with stress. But the biggest lesson he emphasized was… learning to move forward and forgive quickly, especially in the workplace. I really appreciate that he’s willing to help me prepare for adverse situations in life that he’s been through himself.

We visited Bldg P on its open house period, and the sophistication of the place (compared to bldg M and K) was surprising. Even the production rooms look so homey and full of personality and life, and not to mention, freedom! (to bring phones, bags, food, and copy D: ) I met my NHT friend Jeniffer Reyes and AL (didnt catch his surname) and Vanessa and the rest of her team in DIS. And my own team played around in the meeting rooms and comfy chairs.

July 1, 2016

I finally got to replicate the steps to be done in preparation for the work assigned to me. Also, my manager called me for a surprise getting-to-know-me session where I /had/ to describe details about my family and my future plans and what I do in my spare time, all while I was running late for a meeting with my friend Ron (who just came back from his soul-searching trip and was going to deliver a souvenir item for me).

But the real highlight of the week was my lunch buddy Aileen’s birthday celebration, which extended til Friday even tho it really was last Friday! We made artistic eggs for her and we got invited to a division salu-salo in her name (together with the work anniversary celebrants), and we even got treated to a special lunch at UP Town Center. Maybe, since I am now part of a growing tightly-knit division, I would also have to up the scale of my birthday celebrations @____@

This was also the week where I purchased an mp3 player to bring to work. Its bass is really weak, but it’s good enough to put a happy mood to my repetitive tasks. My major problem with it is that I have to charge it all night for it to last, like, 5 hrs. I really need a powerbank for this one.

July 8, 2016

The actuarial division got a population boom this week, thanks to the new hires. A few of my intern friends (Stephen, Justine, Hovve, Ron) and some fresh faces (Monching, Mariz, Anan) will now be joining me at lunch for the next 20 or so years. Haha! And here’s the surprise of the month: Zyblyx, Mr. Game Theory! Dr. David says we were fated XD

I also got stressed due to non-work reasons… I need to learn to keep my cool in the workplace ; __ ;

July 17, 2016

This week was crunch time week for my team… I have been working overtime for the past 2 weeks. The longest so far was 13 hrs straight, and it got to the point where everyone seated around me were unfamiliar faces. I was also sick but had to keep working (at some point my manager caught me online at 8:30pm and forced me to go home… haha). I even went to MBPS in the weekend… a creepy and foodless place.

We also had to prepare for a party for Brad’s Canada-themed birthday party. We (the new hires) were in charge of the designs, and everyone appreciated them! That made my schedule way more hectic though.

Keeping up with the deadlines made things kinda stressful… My teammate is pretty chill and I can’t say whether that’s a good or a bad thing. But at least it seems like he keeps things under control. But no matter how things turn out, I will not work overtime on Friday nights anymore. I need a weekly alcohol fix.

July 22, 2016

This week was dedicated to trimming the loose ends of last week’s workload, the deadline of which we weren’t able to meet, unfortunately. But things are going fine. According to Brad, we got positive feedback from the manager and the business unit. Yay! He also asked me where I wanted to go after the project, but I have no idea yet. I have to know which teams have vacancies first and if I am competent enough to handle their work, plus I need to focus on this project first.

I also got to start studying for Exam P, thanks to Glenn’s reviewers. I originally planned to take Exam FM since I’ve been studying for months already, but when I found out that registration was closed I registered for P out of panic. That’s roughly 10 weeks left for review, which Brad says is the bare minimum. I’m scared to be the first one I know to take the exam and not pass on the first time. In spite of that, everyone seems to believe that I can do it. I got some inspiration from Stephen (who gets by in life with a great combination of effort and heart), Chris (who recently received a score of 10), and Brad (who has believed in me from the very start).

July 29, 2016

Turned the documentations in but wasn’t able to finish the analyses on time :-/ I find it inconvenient that whenever work is given to me, I tend to lose a few hours trying to produce a gameplan first. But whenever I have difficulty figuring things out, I am unable to make a any progress. It’s also funny that after a few days, my pace makes me wonder why I couldn’t start being productive earlier. :-/

I am still incapable of being completely independent, and I dislike it. I wish we were first equipped with the knowledge to be able to do a good analysis, not simply having to rely on common sense. Well, at least my teammate is knowledgeable about insurance components and is a good troubleshooter and that has saved our asses several times haha.

This week was also my first time to stay until midnight in the office both days of the weekend. πŸ˜€ Studying at night and having the whole floor to yourself felt quite nice.

Aug 8, 2016

This week has been pretty chill. I took a day off to be able to enroll for grad school, and I managed to finish it within the day. Then it ended with a birthday celebration of Gio (which Macky and Thor and I worked hard to cram) and of Sir Neil (where I got to talk to Sir Jic and chose an adults-only cake that made some people’s heads spin XD). I had so much to look forward to that weekend so I basically breezed through the week in an excited (β™₯) and hopeful (that everything goes smoothly) state. Also, I tried going to the production area to study both days of the weekend but Tristan & co. stopped me last Saturday because they didn’t want me to work there alone (they were on their way out lol). But on Sunday I had the whole building floor to myself again, and I stayed there until midnight. It was fun! First time to take a (power) nap inside the prod area too, haha.

Aug 15, 2016

My teammate left me alone to work on our project so he could go on a honeymoon overseas. Whew. It wasn’t that bad though, the representative of our business unit has been friendly, informative, and understanding. It felt liberating, that I have proven myself (to myself) that I can handle communications with our BU on my own. And I finally got to study in the workplace on a workday! What was even more liberating was staying in the production area during the entire (yup, I spent the Saturday night there) weekend. I planned the amount of food to buy for camp, and even made myself as comfy as possible by purchasing a back pillow. I had the means to entertain myself all that time, don’t worry.

Dec 31, 2016

Woah! I haven’t been able to update this for 5 months 😦 My schedule got too hectic to be able to micromanage this tracker, haha. But today I have the perfect opportunity to describe what happened over the months. Let me try to remember the highlights…

  • August 2016
    That month was still crunch time for my team of two. I remember being really happy not having to see my partner for a week or so though, due to his honeymoon. XD And even when he got back, I was kinda comfortable already with working alone. The full workload then got passed to me so he could concentrate on his other project (no one likes a two-timing jerk. loljk). This was also when all the functions had to create a corkboard to decorate the drab walls of our production area and showcase what the functions are all about. Fortunately, the Liability Modelling team has a lot of creative members in it, we constructed a Marauder’s Map & Harry Potter-themed one and we ended up winning the contest! πŸ™‚ *no photo cuz company policy -_-*
  • September 2016
    A chain of unfortunate events happened to me that month: my company account got deleted! All of my major software working files were saved on my desktop, with no backup (how stupid of me), obviously unrecoverable. My personal drive remained inaccessible too, so I had to create another digital planner. I had to live off borrowing other people’s accounts just to be able to work, and kept communicating with the helpdesk. To make matters worse, the whole office was in the middle of email migration, and I couldn’t open my new email platform without a proper company account :(((( That made it super hard to communicate with my business unit, but I managed to pull it off. They ended up giving me a new project after my SOA exam.
  • October 2016
    The major event was being drafted into a team to work on a site that will boost our actuarial division’s branding (just because I have a blog… lol), and I became in charge of the blog entries from the managers. I also remember being pissed at my previous teammate for being unable to separate work from personal life (ah, xSFPs…) and being a little overwhelmed with the work that was given to me at a very bad time and with very little instruction. Fortunately I received a lot of guidance from my colleagues (yes, even from my ex-teammate, who ended up supporting me until the end of the project). It was open-ended for me actually… they stopped contacting me at some point and I didn’t even know the status of the project then. I later on learned from people who have previously worked on the same project that the BU really behaves like that so I should just focus on being productive on other things. Lastly, I became confident enough to register for the next exam on December. πŸ™‚
  • November 2016
    The first few weeks of this month was pretty chill, all I had to do was study for my exam and attend AXIS trainings. The attendees were in charge of entertaining the expert Wes Leong. He was superb at teaching beginners how to model objects using AXIS through an unorthodox classroom experience. At lunch we sat with him and exchanged stories about the actuarial path and food and travel in the Philippines. It was fun constantly monitoring the US election results in the middle of training and making bad jokes about it. We prepared a special lunch for him on his last day, ordering Mang Inasal chicken and having Thor play the guitar for him and Brad. After the trainings, I had my debut as a TAST member (basically, more training until I get deployed again) with my ex-teammate who recently ended his other project as well) and had a brand new manager (so for a month I was actually under two managers, haha). I got sick right before my birthday, and my first manager was so considerate that she watched over me as I rested in the clinic (my first visit!) and even paid for my dinner and arranged for my ride home, I will never forget that kindness. And the week after that, my tita friends planned a “surprise” birthday event for me. πŸ™‚ I didn’t know what face to put on cuz I dislike being on the spotlight. I’m just glad people actually cared about me to do that (or maybe it was just mandatory cuz it happens to everyone in the division on their birthday, lol). I was just waiting for Tristan’s greeting to complete my day.
    On the lighter side, I “started a GoStop club” with the other “founding members” Fel (whom I got introduced to by Thor when we spent time at 7-11 one midnight to talk about life and korean stuff) and Glenn. I taught them how to play, and then we shared the gameplay with other “disciples” who joined us in a regular play time (an hour after my shift, in the pantry, with Fel’s honey almonds and whatever treats Glenn brought at the moment). It became my favorite part of the day and I hoped the routine would last forever (although let’s face it, all of us would become too busy to keep on at some point). Fel got really good at it fast so I made him my GoStop mentor (I want to finally beat my mentor, who I’ve not once won against). Glenn’s high score remained at 28, my manager scored more than a hundred, we tried what-if scenarios… it was so much fun and I learned a lot of techniques I wouldn’t have realized by myself. Later on, Fel gave me the game arena for my birthday/Christmas (what an honor!). We’re looking to learn the bass guitar in Q1 from Thor.
    One last thing: I finally became regularized effective Nov 30! πŸ˜€ I can feel the salary difference, haha!
  • December 2016
    Our exams got nearer and nearer so we had less opportunity to play together. I also got busy with 3 committees I was currently involved in (risk council, yearend performance, and games committee). I didn’t pass the exam cuz I didn’t get to practice solving quickly (gonna retake this February), but the yearend party performance and the games we prepared were a huge success! The office was kinda empty on the last 2 weeks of the year, but we had a lot of yearend food outings and gift givings. I received my dream books from Simon, one of the best exam takers in our division. πŸ™‚ I gave Fel and Glenn the GoStop calendar I’ve been working on with my artistic friend Ian since July. I “finished” the first module of my training on my very last day at work! πŸ™‚ And the less than 20 people present got together to celebrate the wonderful year we had as a team.

I think it’s best if I make the update monthly so it doesn’t become much of a chore. XD

January 2017

It was pretty annoying to have to revert back to my old workaholic self from vacation mode, haha. I finished the padded version of the Spotchecking module but could not match the unpadded so I sorta gave up on it already (had to get a move-on to other modules). The Reinsurance module was pretty overwhelming at first cuz I didn’t understand what I was doing, but looking at the process from a bigger perspective I was able to explain it well to my manager and got good feedback. πŸ˜€ The Experience Studies module was much more enjoyable cuz there was problem solving involved. The report took so long to make though, but I enjoyed legally (with my manager’s permission) staying in my happy place in the pretext of quarantining myself due to my colds. XD

One of the good things that happened this month is getting to hang out with Graciella, Lester, Al, Angel, and Elca’s lunch group. I think it must be because I got a lot closer to Tristan recently. One of my favorite memories with them is Graciella’s housewarming dinner. πŸ™‚

Due to the rising popularity of Gostop, it was included in the list of games for the Actuarial Sportsfest. Wow! I’ve always wanted to host a legit gostop tournament. To think that I had no one to play with last year aside from my brother… Now’s a chance to turn the entire division into disciples! XD