Dixon Ruecker
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📍 Phoenix, Arizona Area
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Great comment Michelle. Thanks for the insight. Learning how to deal with stress is a skill that everyone needs to develop, no matter what career path they take. Stress has many sources, whether it be from raising a child, maintaining relationships, dealing with the loss of loved ones, starting a new job, or moving to a new city. Having played poker professionally for nine years, I've certainly learned not to sweat the small stuff. I'm sure there are parallels with PR, in that your success is often defined by how you perform when things aren't going so well. In poker, it's all about avoiding "tilt" since minimizing losses is far more important than maximizing wins. The same can be said for managing a brand. Many careers have been defined (and ended) at companies like VW and Wells Fargo recently.

It sounds like a career in PR pays dividends in other aspects of life if you can weather the storm in challenging times. Having a high-pressure job shouldn't always be seen as a bad thing, in that it can make life's ups and downs easier to handle.

Good advice Chris, but as someone who studied finance and chose analytics, let's be clear on what a career in data analysis typically means today - you're likely to be doing a lot of coding.

Tools like Power BI and Tableau allow for more self-service reporting, and Excel's Power Query (now simply called "Get and Transform" in the Data tab of Excel 2016) makes it pretty easy to manipulate data without knowing the underlying "M" language, but you're inevitably going to need to learn some form of coding to advance your career. I'm guessing the number of entry-level positions that work with Power BI/Tableau will only increase over time, so it still might be a good way to get your foot in the door somewhere. At the very least, it's worth seeing what the tools can do on YouTube (check out this 8 y/o who made a Pokemon dashboard) and see if it's something you might be interested in. I may be projecting my own naivety from college, but I think a lot of people mistakenly believe there are lower-level jobs out there where you get to consume reports and make recommendations. In my experience, that task is reserved for managers, directors, executives, etc. The finance world may be an exception, but that type of analysis is increasingly being done by algorithms - fintech is exploding right now.

Another harsh reality, is that it's going to be difficult to find a situation where your superiors are going to really want to leverage your amazing analytical abilities. Take Elon Musk as an example - before Zip2, PayPal, Tesla, SolarCity, and SpaceX, Musk was a lowly intern at the Bank of Nova Scotia when he discovered an incredible arbitrage opportunity where the bank could've printed billions of dollars. His idea was rejected, I'm sure partially because he was a kid making $14/hr. I'm not saying every company is like this, but it's no secret opportunities are limited for entry-level workers. I don't mean to discourage you, @pingpongboy, but I have a feeling your same coding concern will come up in many posts and I just wanted to help shed some light. If you don't like coding, there are still plenty of career paths you could take, but Harvard Business Review's sexiest job of the 21st century, Data Scientist, is going to be very unsexy to most people once they learn what it actually entails.