Wednesday, July 4, 2012

wasting my breath

Good morning, everybody.

This post is related to this entry in my dream journal.

As usual, I'm kind of slow in recognizing the images from my own dreams. Yesterday, I wondered where the wood walls in my dream came from. It wasn't until later in the day that I remembered that one of my favorite blog sites, Fine Little Day, had a series of pictures of a workshop with wood walls just like the one in my dream.

I think I was looking forward to talking about that today. So last night's dream took another image of walls from a different  post on Fine Little Day and put that in my dream. I think that's why I have the grainy, grey images on the walls in the second dream from last night.

When I woke up -- here's another example of my slowness -- I thought that the "standardized test" in my dream was either the ACT, SAT, or GRE. Now that I reflect on it, though, it was most likely the FINRA Series 86 test, which I had to pass in order to become a financial analyst in 2008.

I took the test in August of 2008 and failed it by two points. I retook it in September of 2008 and passed it easily. The first time I'd taken the test, I hadn't really studied for it. And, even still, I probably could have passed it. But I was just so paranoid about leaving my desk, and I really needed to go to the bathroom, that I ended the test 60 minutes early, without having double-checked my answers! So I went back in September of 2008, having studied a bit more, and having emptied my bladder completely before testing. And I did fine.

I could say -- like a lot of people thought -- that I came into that test with no financial background. But that isn't true. I had no formal education in finance. But by the time I took the test I'd been working with my company for almost three years. I'd read and studied everything I could get my hands on while I was at the company. I took company-based online tests. And I attended any sort of lecture or informational meeting the company put on. So I actually came into that test with probably about a beginner-level financial background.

Anyway, so I did fine on the test. But -- like I've said a million times before, I basically stopped working in the financial industry a little more than a year ago, in June of 2011. After leaving the position I was in at that time, I spent a lot of time in the libraries of New York City, trying to get back in touch with the studying mindset I'd left behind when I'd found myself suddenly falling into the financial industry in October of 2005.

One day, I was studying at the Science, Industry, and Business Library. Two girls were sitting across from me. They were studying for the FINRA Series 7 test, one of the tests you have to pass before you can take the Series 86.

The girls were talking about how recently FINRA had decided to make the Series 7 harder, because too many people were passing it. The idea the girls had was, I guess, that if you made the test harder, and fewer people passed it, you'd have less chance of stupid decisions causing another financial crisis.

But then one of the girls gave a "prime example" of someone for whom it was too easy to pass the test. He was a guy who'd come into a bank as a temporary administrative assistant. His goal in life had originally been to be a writer. He was made into a permanent administrative assistant. Then he wanted to be a made into an analyst. So he took all his FINRA tests and passed them -- with no financial experience!

Of course, that was my story, even though I'm sure I had it in common with other men and women. But the woman was talking about it as if it were plainly scandalous. I felt horrible. I just sat there silently listening to my story as if were a perfect example of all the low-class people Wall Street had let on board.

To be honest, I don't think FINRA was trying to make the Series 7 harder, as much as they were trying to update the Series 7 to reflect shifts in the skill and knowledge sets people felt needed to be emphasized in order to create a safer investment environment. But, still, when I heard the word "harder," I thought, Well, I'd obviously be too stupid to pass the new test, then.

I really don't think about going back into the financial industry, just mainly because I don't think there's any space for me there anymore. Besides, I'm not sure the environment is for me. If it were, I'm sure I would still be right where I was a year ago. I left of my own accord.

But I always wonder -- what would the new Series 7 test be like? Would I be able to pass it? The Series 7 test wasn't easy, but I passed it with a good comfort level. So I don't think my brain equates difficulty with the Series 7 like it does with the Series 86. So I think my dream changed the Series 7 with the Series 86 to make an atmosphere of performance anxiety.

Really, though, I wish I could stop harping on my old jobs all the time. I remind myself of the song "Better Be Quiet Now," by Elliott Smith. Except, at least he was at least singing about a love interest. I'm whining about a job. It's silly. And, even after a year, I'm still griping. It's pretty dumb.