experiments, instruments & measurement book

Non-Profit Narishkeit: The Life and Times of an Intern in the Non-Profit Jewish World

Week 3-4: There Is No Antonym For Excel

By Jonny Gottlieb

Hi guys. The first thing I just want to put out there is that Microsoft Excel is sometimes kind of hard. This might be shocking to some and embarrassing to others, but I want this blog to be a safe space where we can talk about these sorts of issues. I’m well aware Excel seems logical and is mostly used for imputing simple information into neatly organized boxes. However there is more to Excel than meets the eye. There are all sorts of formats and formulas the average person simply does not have a grasp on. Now I don’t necessarily ever have to use all of these complex aspects, but my point is they are there and yeah.

The better part of my week was spent researching potential new congregations and organizing said research into workable documents for correspondence. This of course meant Excel, Excel, Excel. As I’ve mentioned before I don’t really mind doing less than thrilling tasks if I find the end goal meaningful. Plus, I’m able to tap into my (very) selective OCD and genuinely find pleasure in a nice, clean spreadsheet. However once you’re sitting at your computer for multiple hours, you surpass the parameters of a simple project and enter into what I would call “Next Level Excel”.

Next Level Excel involves tabs, “hiding”, and even the occasional custom coloring. Since I was working on multiple lists, I played around with the different possible ways to build matrixes. I tried to find one that suited me best, one that really spoke to the kind of person I aspire to be. Was I an alphabetizer? A color coder? I toiled over how to become the “right” kind of Excel user.

Taking Next Level Excel that one step further

Taking Next Level Excel that one step further

In an act of serendipity, I got a little break just as Excel fatigue was starting to set in. The intern coordinator for the Jewish Education Project had set up lunch and learn dates with various higher ups in the company. It was an awesome opportunity for us to get to know important people in the organization that we otherwise might not have that much contact with. Once in a while we also got a free lunch, and that didn’t hurt either.

This afternoon’s lunch was with one of the directors who also happened to be a Rabbi. After schmoozing for a while we delved into a bit of text study and discussed a pasuk from the Book of Proverbs. This teaching, Chapter 22, Verse 4, has recently become a trendy catch phrase for progressive Jewish learning. It roughly translates from Hebrew as “Educate a child according to his way, so that when he matures, he will never turn away from it.” Many interpret this as saying “since not all children digest information in the same way, we must accommodate their individual learning styles”.

Maybe I had been living in a spreadsheet for the past couple of days or because I’m only human I can’t seem to go that far without relating everything back to my own experiences, but I immediately thought of Excel. While the line was specifically about children, it’s clearly applicable to learners of all ages. There is no correct way to learn something. One must figure out the way they learn and stick to it. I breathed a sigh of relief remembering that if I tried my best and did things the way I know I can, I would not only be the master of all things graphed but could really get a lot out of this internship.

Disclaimer: I would advise asking your supervisor for their preferred method of doing things and then going along with that. But for the purpose of this post, I’m totally supportive of the whole finding your own path thing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

geriatrics books