July 4, 2007

My Second Anniversary In The Field

Now the years are rolling by me,
they are rockin' even me.
I am older than I once was,
and younger than I'll be.
That's not unusual. No, it isn't strange.
After changes upon changes,
we are more or less the same.
--- Simon and Garfunkel, The Boxer
It's my second anniversary of working in the field. That's after spending 21 years in "ivory towers" of various insurance and consulting companies.

Actuary, Individual Insurance
National Life of Canada officially disappeared into Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services on June 30, 2005. I'd been at NL for 14 years. Goodbye to a corner office with a magnificent view north to Queen's Park. Goodbye to my 10 staff, the entire Marketing Actuarial department. Goodbye to product design, pricing, reinsurance, illustration systems, SaveTax websites, disaster recovery plans, Standards of Sound Business Practice, budgeting, performance appraisals. Goodbye.

Watching a company crumble is traumatic, especially as friends and colleagues were terminated. My cabinets were filled with files on the dozens of life and health products I'd created, marketed and supported since joining National Life in 1991. I threw nearly everything away. Those accomplishments meant nothing now. Processes died after years of kaizen (continuous improvement).

I used to be a key decision maker. I had tremendous authority. I had considerable leeway to experiment. I had many ideas. I had trust. I had influence.
If I am what I have and what I have is lost, who am I?
For 10 years, I'd reported directly to the Senior Vice President & Chief Actuary who reported to the President. Naturally, my aspirations were to continue climbing further up but the company disappeared. My ladder lead nowhere.

I like change for the sake of change. I've been an agent of change. Even so, times were traumatic. Luckily time heals and memories fade.
He carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him 'til he cried out in his anger and his shame, "I am leaving, I am leaving" but the fighter still remains. --- The Boxer
You may not be at the right place. You may not be at the right time. However, you can be the right person.

As my old world collapsed, a new opportunity emerged: a need for advanced marketing support in the field. I had no sales experience, but I had many portable skills, learned quickly and had deep knowledge of the high-end market from a head office perspective. Being an actuary was a definite advantage, a source of instant credibility.

Director of Advanced Marketing
On July 1, 2005, I became Director of Advanced Marketing, supporting National Accounts, Special Markets and later MGAs too. I'm glad. My life is much richer.

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