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I never got to the real advanced math classes in school. In fact the last math class I ever took in college would have seen me failing if it weren’t for a good friend who tutored me enough so that I could pass. But I always was good at adding, subtracting, dividing, and understanding the relationships between numbers. In other words, I am very good at simple math or everyday math that really can come in handy.
The truth is that I might have had to file for unemployment sometime in my life if it weren’t for my basic math abilities. The reason for this is that most of the jobs I have had required me to be able to do simple math quickly in my head.
Straight out of college I started playing poker and although not many people realize it, you need math skills to be good at it. While there is a big luck factor, the player who can get his money into the pot with a mathematical advantage the most will stand the best chance of winning over the long run. Good poker players are often good at math and they might not even know they are using it.
One of the first “real” jobs I ever had was a being a bank teller. You don’t need to know algebra or anything like that but you do need to know how to count and give change. You can deal with a lot of money over the course of a day and balancing at night was real scary at first. If you don’t balance then you won’t last long as a teller, that is for sure.
My next job was one where I went to different companies and looked through their books hoping to recover money for them. Again, you need to be real good at simple math for this because you need to be able to quickly identify instances where they might have overpaid or not taken enough discount. You have to be quick on your feet with addition and multiplication and you need to be able to easily identify numbers on a page that might be out of whack and don’t look right.
So, there you have it. My first three jobs in life all had a math component and I am glad I was able to learn the basics in school. Kids always wonder and ask why they need to be learning math because they think they will never need it later in life. The truth is though, that you never really know when something you learn in high school or college will be useful to you down the road.