Sunday, May 29, 2005

RE: All Work and No Play

For 5 years I studied for the CFA exam. This year it will be given next Saturday. Always the Saturday after Memorial day. For 5 years this was a bitch.

The exam process is that they give you a reading list: several text books, academic articles, etc. They gave you a brief outline of what they are wanting you to learn. Then they give you a year to study. The exam format (when I took it) was about 14 - 17 essay questions. You had 6 hours to answer them. There are three levels, each to be passed before the next one can be sat for the following year.

3 levels? 5 years? Yes. I failed Part 1 the first time, waited a year passed it, failed Part 2 the first time, waited a year, then passed it and passed Part 3 on the first attempt. This is about average.

Anyway, usually by April end I was done studing and spent May reviewing...and reviewing...and reviewing....The 3-day Memorial Day weekend (3 days, 10-hour days) was spent at the office or library doing a final review. The week before the test I only did relaxed 1 hour a day review. Usually I took a week vacation in March to intensely study.

The worst part. The really gut wrenching part is that since the test is all essay and graded by hand I had to wait 3 months to get results. So a year's work, a week's vacation, and Memorial day weekend could be all for nothing until that envelope arrived.

The program has an extremely high attrition rate, but I survived and I finally passed all three levels and my Memorial Day weekends are free and I promised that I would always enjoy them for now on. The money isn't rolling in like I thought it would, but at conferences and conventions I'm the big swinging dick of the place. That's nice.

And here's what I have to do this week. I have a workshop I'm hosting at a local country club on Saturday. I have to get some invitations out for a dinner I'm hosting on the 14th. I also have to finish this book before the weekend is out.

Our little side business of Signature Communication has landed it's first client. I have to re-write a NASD Series 6 exam book for one of the country's leading providers of Securities Licensing training. I figure it's a 150-200 hours worth of work at $20/hour with a deadline of October 31st. When am I going to do that? That's a little bigger than I was expecting for the first time out, but I've learned that you gotta run with what you get.

What do I want to do? Finish reading this book. Lay on the couch. Experience absolute quiet.

We're going to a party tonight.

Stay You.
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