Life Hack: English Skills

What’s the difference between an introverted actuary and an extroverted actuary?

The extroverted actuary  will look at your shoes while speaking to you. Actuaries are stereotypically known for poor social & communication skills. However, in the past couple decades there has been a push to change that.

I aspire to be an actuary and break the stereotypes. I will muster the courage to maintain eye contact during conversations, engage in small talk, and perhaps even crack a joke. As an extrovert, this isn’t difficult for me so I say it in jest. However, I have met actuaries with the personality of cardboard. That may be insulting to cardboard though.

Due to growth in the actuarial industry, the number of (and quality of) applicants has increased. This means I have much more competition. The job qualifications already weed out the mathematically inept, but how do you stand out in a pool of top-notch candidates? The way I differentiate myself is through strong communications skills.

By now you must be wondering what my secret is. Fear not, you will soon discover how you too can communicate like a master! Disclaimer: Jason Allen is not legally responsible for any injuries or deaths that result from following the instructions contained in this blog post.

One of the best things to happen to me was being born in Canada, I definitely recommend this life hack. The perks of this are nearly endless! For starters, I’ve been speaking English since my vocal chords began producing sounds other than screaming and crying. It is much easier to learn phonemes (the smallest unique of sound in linguistics) while you are young. Therefore, it is important to hear adults speaking English while you are a child so you are exposed to all the phonemes within the language.

Everyone spoke to me in English and expected me to speak back in the same language. I was completely immersed in the language, I could not ask for a better learning environment. With almost no effort whatsoever I’ve been able to learn all the quirks of the language.

Side note: being born in Canada offers other perks outside of language and communication. Some of the highlights include: free healthcare, bonus language (French), white Christmases, polite citizens, and colourful money.

Over the course of my academic career, I have been enrolled in mandatory English classes. At the time I certainly was not pleased to be taking them. However, over time I saw the effectiveness. I’ve learned: correct grammar, proper vocabulary, appropriate uses of tone & tense, and a variety of writing conventions. You don’t need to be in an English-speaking country to take these classes!

To sum up the helpful tips and tricks for mastering your communications, I suggest being born in Canada or any other English-speaking country. I really can’t stress this one enough. I don’t think enough people have discovered this amazing life hack. On the off chance that you cannot apply this advice, take some English classes. I heard that the University of Waterloo offers a good one on communication and writing skills!

One thought on “Life Hack: English Skills

  1. Nice shout out to linguistics. Phonemes are important but it’s the allophones which are the speech sounds in a phoneme. Still, you definitely used the term correctly. Great post and excellent use of humour! One side note: while speaking English is an asset, being multilingual is equally and maybe, just maybe, more important in a globalized economy.


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