The College Reunion: The Value of Sharing Success Stories

The long weekend was coming up, and Matt was looking forward to getting together with his old college buddies, Susan and Jim. It had been 10 years since they had seen each other, as math majors at State University. After graduation, they had all moved to different parts of the country but coincidentally ended up following an actuarial career and … Read More

Clearing Up Some Misunderstandings

“Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood!” While young readers might not recognize the musical reference, I believe all readers can relate to the disappointment of having an intended audience not understand a particular role you play. Having served a number of years on the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline (ABCD), I want to share my perception that … Read More

A Lifetime of Professionalism

You’ve been dreaming about this since you were a kid, and now it has happened. You just got hired as a junior actuary. You’re so excited about starting off your career. You know about the exams; you also know about the type of work that you will be doing. You’ve got your promotions all scheduled out as well. Manager after … Read More

HAL the Actuary?

The 1960s was a great time to be a kid with a fondness for science fiction. All forms of sci-fi entertainment proliferated in the decade. Authors such as Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury regularly turned out new sci-fi stories, television offered sci-fi-themed series ranging from the ridiculous (Lost in Space) to the sublime (Star Trek), and several motion pictures that … Read More

When to Say ‘No’

When someone asks me if I can do something for them, I like to say “yes.” I want to be helpful, useful. That is true in my personal and professional life. But sometimes you have to say “no.” It could be because you don’t have the time, you don’t like to do what is requested—or it may be that you … Read More

That’s So Meta

Several years ago, when the word “meta” first appeared on the scene, I will admit that I had some difficulty understanding what it meant, other than something cool to say as in “that’s so meta.” Of course, I understood it in a specific application such as “metadata” being data about the data, but the typical application escaped me. Cue up … Read More

Tattoos and Ponytails

The Code of Professional Conduct (“the Code”) sets forth what it means for an actuary to be a professional. The preface to the Code goes further to state, “It identifies the responsibilities that actuaries have to the public, to their clients and employers, and to the actuarial profession.” It is safe to say that most clients and employers who hire … Read More

A Fine Mess

One morning in late June, while I was going through my daily routine of having my morning cup of coffee and scanning the news, something caught my eye. I came across a news article from the Wall Street Journal with the headline, “Ernst & Young Fined $100 Million in Ethics Exam-Cheating Probe.” My curiosity was piqued. After reading the article, my first … Read More

Our Resilience

This is the final Up to Code article that I will compose. Because this is my last such essay, I am going to take the liberty of beginning on what, for me, at least, is an uncharacteristically personal note and write about a friend from my youth who died recently and was among the most impressive persons I have ever known. Dr. … Read More

Conflicts of Interest and Codes of Conduct

Conflicts of interest are one of the challenges that professionals face quite often, and they are difficult to address. They are very rarely black and white, but rather shades of gray. Sales are fraught with conflicts of interest. We are all familiar with the situation where someone who will receive a substantial commission if a sale is made represents themselves … Read More