Glory Days (I hope when I get old I don’t sit around thinking about it)

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Pieces like this aren’t easy to write in spite of what many people may think. I’ve been in the life insurance industry for over 15 years, that’s like a lifetime. I’ve worked for 6 different companies in a variety of roles. Today, all of that ends. Life insurance is an industry that I know, it’s been my security blanket and it’s hard to take the step into the unknown and outside of my comfort zone.

In those 15 years I’ve met so many people that I now call friends. I’ve attended masses of parties, been to dozens of events, been to lots of town hall meetings and I once even dressed up as wizard and stood in the middle of Melbourne for a day.

I’ve worked in a variety of roles over the years. Claims, Projects, Training, Account Management and Transformation areas. I was sent on a study tour around Australia and New Zealand, where I met a few of my closest friends. I can’t deny this industry hasn’t treated me well.

The decision to leave has literally taken as long as I’ve been in the industry to make. Teaching was always something that appealed to me and I came to the conclusion, on one of my daily walks to work, that if I didn’t do something about it soon, then I never would. I’ve always enjoyed the training aspects of my roles and I’d like to give something back and to do something with a real social heartbeat.

As an industry in recent years we’ve seen a massive spike in mental health issues. I believe this isn’t just representative of people who own insurance policies, but of society itself. I think males especially have a negative attitude about speaking out about issues and I believe it’s very important to be able to talk to someone. I myself have used the employee assistance programme to engage a psychologist about my marriage break up and in fact I found so much benefit from it that I still see her to this day in a maintenance capacity. I’d really encourage anyone who is struggling to do something similar.

There seems to be a certain attitude in Australian society, especially among the male gender, that it is a ‘weak’ thing to do. However I can tell you, from personal experience, that it’s one of the most brave and beneficial things I’ve ever done. If anybody would like to talk to me about my experiences and maybe dispel some of the myths surrounding it, I’m incredibly happy to do so.

From the moment I walked into my most recent role, I felt like I knew a lot of people, that was maybe because I’d worked with about 20 of them previously. The insurance industry is small in Melbourne and there seems to be an ever-revolving door between companies. I’ve enjoyed the two teams I’ve managed, I only hope I’ve taught those teams as much as they’ve taught me over the years.

I wish everyone in the insurance industry, as I leave, the best for the future. I’ve had a lot of fun times and I can’t deny, even though at times I might not have enjoyed the work, that I did enjoy the people.

And so to the future. I’m already 6 weeks into my Master’s course, having already submitted two assignments. My office is now my home. I work alone most of the day, barring maybe a trip to the gym and the supermarket. I didn’t think I’d transition that well but I’ve surprised myself. I’ve quickly developed routines, which are very important to me and make me feel ‘safe’. The future is still a bit scary, studying at home requires a fair degree of self-motivation and so far I’ve managed that. It’s whether I can keep it up I suppose. I guess we always doubt ourselves. Then I have the thought of what my first practical experience in the classroom will be like. Maybe I should just try and live in the moment a while hey?

Stepping out of your comfortable zone isn’t an easy thing to do but if you have dreams why not go for it? In the words of Bruce Springsteen “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?”

 

IJS 17/08/2017

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