Frank, as you may or may not recall, is an actuary.
Actuaries go through this whole really hard exam process to get to add little letters to their name. After like six exams, they can call themselves an “A.S.A.” which stands for Associate of the Society of Actuaries. Add a couple more exams, and they get to call themselves an “F.S.A.” which stands for a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.
In actuarial circles, getting your A.S.A. or F.S.A is a really, really big deal. Each exam is really hard, and you have to pass six of them to get to the A.S.A. accreditation.
This week, Frank is doing his Final Assessment. This is basically the sixth exam to get his A.S.A. It’s not an exam in a traditional sense; it’s more like a super-in-depth case study/homework assignment. He has 96 hours to do it. It’s open book, but that’s sort of irrelevant; you really have to know your shit to do well on this thing.
He started it yesterday, which means it’s due on Thursday. As you can imagine, we’ll be seeing very little of him in the next few days. I’m not even sure where he is; I think he said he’d be at the library. But he’s working hard and hopefully kicking butt, because in his world, and therefore our world, this is A Very Big Deal. Not only is it a true distinction, but the financial rewards just for getting those three little letters are pretty big. A decent bonus, a substantial pay increase, plus eligibility to hold just about any actuarial job in his firm. (Only a few distinct positions seem to require the F.S.A., and those are the REALLY nerdy math geek positions, the people that really know this stuff backwards and forwards.)
So, and I don’t ask for this often, but keep your fingers crossed for him! He’s worked so hard to get to this point, and we’ve done a lot of not seeing him while he studies. He’s spent family vacations studying giant binders of information and with his nose in his laptop doing modules (the prep work for exams). Like I said, this is A Very Big Deal.