Job Wanted: Tall Statistician Seeks Match

I am hoping that among my faithful readers there is somebody that knows somebody who might know a guy who’s looking for a statistician.

The economy is such that consulting opportunities are rarer than a conservative at NPR. So in the interest of continuing to finance my daily three, I thought I should turn my ability of wearing suits—and liking it—into cash by finding a real job. Do any companies still require suits?

My sometime unorthodox views, and insistence on remaining in New York City when going would have been wiser, have made it difficult to discover a position in a research university. Despite some earlier opportunities, I stayed put until the two young gentlemen who I’m responsible for could be booted onto the streets without me incurring legal penalties.

I would love to teach at a school where the students actually want to learn and are not there just to “Get a degree.” In my fantasy, these kids matriculate already knowing how to write and are not unfamiliar with multiplication and division of two-digit numbers. And since this is my hallucination, I envision the college shares my desires and puts knowledge (and not “diversity”, etc.) first. Sigh.

There are these places called “think tanks”, and although I’ve never seen one, I picture them as highly walled zoos in which curious specimens of thinking animals are kept on display and are made to perform (on paper) for food. I have no contacts with zookeepers.

I wouldn’t fit in well with (standard) pharmaceutical companies. The work that they do is constrained and restricted by the dictates of various bureaucracies, and necessarily they are not interested in the kind of statistics I preach.

I am a mean R programmer (I curse the computer a lot) and am eager to demonstrate the usefulness of predictive statistics to some adventurous firm.

Re-location is fine (and easy; we only rent). For years, I’ve been trying to find a way back into Texas where I started my illustrious career, via, it’s true, the nepotism of my Uncle Sam. I don’t want to live in California, as gorgeous as that state is (I would like to keep at least some of the money given to me by my potential employer).

I’m free immediately. The only hitch is that I promised Cornell I would teach a two-week course at the end of this June.

My CV may be viewed on-line, or downloaded.

Email matt@wmbriggs.com or call (beginning Monday, 17 January) 917-392-0691.

20 Comments

  1. hi Matt,

    I have a friend who works in sales analytics ( online ) MA, knows R, has no trouble getting gigs.

    You have my facebook, msg me there and I can hook you up. I think she works with a recruiter

    You should have a look around Google. Lots of R there.

    predict what topic I’m going to search for after I read your post and have the results cached and ready to go.

  2. Steven,

    Thanks. Had two chats with Google. Although they didn’t say so directly, I had the idea they preferred fresher faces.

  3. Does your pharma constrain extend to medical schools or large hospitals? You know: electronic records, different metrics, evidence based medicine……. Risk? Constantly updated probabilities as the individual skills, practice change and directives issued by the medical politburo descend on practitioners….. Calculable risk for the individual, for the department, for the institution…… ?
    Sorry, I am not a statistician, but the interest in risk led me to your book. If it has merit at all, check CMS, individual schools etc.

  4. Briggs,

    Talked to a Google recruiter tonight. I can confirm your perception. Also, spoke to a friend who just finished a gig for ebay. she’ll keep hers ears opne, but this is all bay area stuff. which is prolly not what you want

  5. also, check the R help list sometimes job openings hit that.
    Also, in your spare time you might consider contributing to a package, that could
    get you some notice in the community.

  6. I passed along your CV for a position that would allow you to stay in NYC, although it would require you to commute to Westchester County some.

  7. Sorry, Matt, this is a bit of a moan …

    Having read a sample of the scientific literature over several decades there would appear to be vacancies for competent statisticians in a number of US and UK Universities.

    However, it would appear that competent statisticians aren’t wanted to fill the vacuum. Especially those who are clearly head and shoulders above the existing staff!

    Shame really!

    When I was at Uni 45+ years ago data management and statistical analysis were not taught in some sciences (I am a chemist – we had nothing …). Maybe things have improved since then but maybe not! You can do a science degree (possibly not Physics) where you don’t need anything more than grade school maths and no statistics. Where I study currently (undergrad Earth Sciences) I fight a running battle on utterly basic things like over-quoting precision of results and un-necessary simplification of calculations where accurately known numbers are rounded at the start*.

    “Science” cries out for a sound understanding of data handling. With cost cutting, I doubt whether the position will improve for the foreseeable future.

    * e.g. Why round the atomic mass of magnesium 24.305 g / mol to 24 before using it in a calculation? (And then ask for the answer to 3 S.F.)

  8. When I told my Granma that I needed good luck to make something happen, e.g., relocation, she would tell me that I had good Karma and maybe I could get rid of the bad luck first by… getting a hair cut. Well, you probably know of something similar to my Grandma’s advice already. ^_^

  9. Call TX state senator Florence Shapiro and ask to bid on an analysis/consulting contract to review education programs in TX, to find out “what works.” Sen Shapiro has been quite miffed that the local talent from the state Education Agency, Comptroller, Univeristy System, etc, can provide cost benefit numbers on three decades worth of statistics gathered on various “programs” funded with taxpayer funds.

  10. This is just a suggestion, and you can take it or leave it, but you may wish to add to your resume the kind of jobs you are good at and like to do, so that prospective clients/employers catch a better clue. Some possibilities:

    * advanced statistical and Baysian analyses
    * econometric market and marketing analyses
    * project and proposal reviews, cost/risk allocation analyses
    * time-and-motion studies, factor screening, critical path network analyses
    * survival analyses, extreme value analyses
    * Taguchi methods

    Etc. And what business (or academic) sectors you are interested in, and how your skills will make your clients/employers more profitable, more efficient, and happier. Don’t overestimate their knowledge about your relatively esoteric field. Selling your services might take more than just listing your accomplishments.

  11. If I won the lottery (statistically, the odds are against us, as I am morally opposed to the damn thing) I would hire Briggs to be my personal statistician.

    Sort of a Jeeves and Wooster thing. I would roam the earth, getting in adventures of varying sort, all with Briggs at my side engaging in cool statistical asides, like illustrating terminal point bias by using Michael Jordan’s earnings as an undergrad.

    I think that I may have idealized this life: But I’d love to try.

  12. Matt

    Have you ever thought of emigrating? Western Australia is a boom State at the moment with almost record UNemployment rates. All to do with a Mining Boom which seems to have a bit of momentum.

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