By Laura Peterson
As a college student, I studied communications and public relations. Upon graduating, my heart was initially set on pursuing a communications career in the sports industry. After interning with a minor league baseball team, I thought I found my calling. However, as graduation neared, I realized that my dream of entering the sports industry was about to get a lot tougher. At my fingertips was a yearlong post-grad internship with a major league baseball team with two awfully large stipulations—it was an unpaid internship in a city with one of the highest costs of living in the United States.
Knowing I did not have the financial means to make this work, I instantly knew that I had to start looking at other career options. I began making mental notes of what I enjoyed about each one of my past jobs and internships, and about what experiences stood out the most to me and why.
After moving home from college, I set out to find a job. There were three things I knew I wanted in a career: opportunity, satisfaction and stability.
Never in a million years did I think I would end up in the insurance industry. Ironically, my parents always told me to “never get into the insurance industry,” even though they spent a combined 47 years working in the insurance industry's marketing and client service departments.
Nevertheless, I heeded their actions, not their advice—and I couldn’t be happier that I did. On July 7, 2013, I anxiously made my way up to the 15th floor of a building in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, for my first day as the communications coordinator at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. To be honest, at first I did not think the industry was the right fit for me. I had the misperception, like some of you reading this now may have, that insurance was boring. To top it off, I quite frankly did not even understand my own personal insurance policies.
I told myself that after one year I would find a job in an industry more up my alley. Yet, almost three years later, I am still working in the insurance industry. Why?
In my early career, I have met and made connections with intelligent and passionate people who have taught me about not only the insurance industry but also about myself as a professional. I have had the opportunity to be a part of more than I could have ever imagined. And, many of the experiences I have gained satisfied the items on the list I outlined when looking for a career. I have assisted in the planning and operation of national meetings and marketing campaigns, and I have been allowed to take charge of numerous communications-related responsibilities in my new role as marketing assistant at OneBeacon Government Risks. My potential for growth is off the charts, and the opportunities are limitless!
What I love most about the insurance industry is the challenge. I, like many professionals in the industry, did not go to school with the intention of working in this industry. But, because of that, every day is a new challenge for me. I am constantly learning new things, which is by far the most rewarding part of my career. I am challenged to lead new projects, understand the materials and topics, bring new ideas to the table and be a part of the process. I am challenged daily to think like an owner and to do and be more.
I gave insurance a chance, and now look where I am and where I have to go. Did you know that over 50% of the industry’s workforce is over 45 years of age? With that being said, in 5 to 10 years many of those people will be retiring, and who will take their place? The answer is me and you! Because of this, my career is more stable than most. My career is just beginning and will not be slowing down any time soon.
If I can leave you with one piece of advice, it is this quote from Mark Twain: “The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding there capacities which the outside didn't indicate or promise, and which the other kind of eye couldn't detect.”
There is more to insurance than you know. Take a chance; opportunity is knocking.
This article first appeared on InsureMyPath.org