Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tough Year

It's been a tough year. I covered the beginning of the year in another post regarding the Calculus course I took in preparation for applying to a master's program in applied statistics. I had planned on studying for the GRE this summer and taking it this fall as well as applying for the master's program, then working through the master's program for the next 3-5 years. My employer, HDMS (a subsidiary of Aetna), was going to help pay for the degree. However, those plans were going to get thrown off course.

I had just finished submitting my coursework for reimbursement when I was sent an out-of-place meeting request. At the meeting, I found out HDMS was letting me go. At first it appeared it was just me, but as I found out later in the day, they were laying off about 10 other employees and closing about 10 other open positions. For two hours, I was trying to figure out what I did wrong - but it had nothing to do with my performance. I was the most recent hire on the team, and there were others getting laid off too.

I hit the ground running. The severance package included a career consulting service - I looked it up and scheduled time to review my resume with a consultant. The paper / PDF version has undergone quite a few revisions over the past few weeks. I also started contacting my network, browsing through online job boards, and all the usual job-hunting tasks. I did find quite a few roles through my network, and a couple of them resulted in offers.

I quickly found a role as a consultant data analyst with Great Wolf Resorts. I stayed there for a few weeks, working on a single project integrating credit card transactions with the reservations. Essentially, if a guest uses a credit card for something on site (e.g., restaurant) and does not charge it back to the room, the transaction is not connected to the reservation. In order to connect the two, I had to merge transactions with reservations based on guest name and, if available, the last four digits of the credit card number. It was messy, and I was able to get about 57% of the transactions matched. I believe the best possible rate was somewhere around 65%, but it would have required a lot of exception handling, manual matching, and/or time-intensive matching processes (e.g., matching text within another text field). The company analyst and I decided the additional matches weren't worth the expense.

The position was a good fit for my skills, and I enjoyed working with the people there, but as a consultant role, the benefits were very expensive and of course it could have ended at any time. So, I kept looking for permanent roles while I was there. I need something more permanent right now, but I can definitely see myself as a successful consultant. In my short time there, I think I demonstrated a lot of value with my skills and the process and analysis I left behind.

Recently, I found a new role as a Senior Healthcare Analyst at SSM Health, a non-profit healthcare organization with hospitals from Wisconsin to Missouri. They also own Dean Health Plan, where I worked a few years ago. I still know a few people there, so it will be good to reconnect with them. I'll be analyzing healthcare data for a particular region of the system, starting in a few days. I feel very good about the team and the leader, so I'm looking forward to getting started. Luckily, I'll be working from home again, so I'll get to use my treadmill again.

Here's hoping quarter four is quite a bit less turbulent!

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