Opportunity

One door closes, another one opens. This theme seems to be how my life is right now, career wise. I have been working in the insurance industry for a few months, and this journey has come to an end. Me and insurance sales just did not get along.

Talking to people is not my problem, but selling is just not something I’m not good at. I thought that being good at talking to people would translate into selling, but that was not the case. And in all honesty, I simply did not like it. This career was not made for me.

I have had only two jobs since I graduated from college. Both of them had absolutely nothing to do with my degree. One of the jobs I could not do because of my disability, being on my feet for hours and hours frankly sucked. The other job, insurance, was simply not a good fit for me.

Learning The Hard Way

What the last few months has shown me is what I cannot do. Jobs where I have to be on my feet all day are not in the cards. This fact eliminated many different career choices. Technician jobs, manufacturing, warehouse work, construction, retail, restaurant, any job that requires a medical exam, and many other jobs or careers that require me to be on my feet for hours at a time. At least that narrows down my job search. I no longer look have to look for jobs in these areas.

So where does that leave me? In limbo I guess. Opportunities will often present themselves in strange ways and come up when they are not expected. That hasn’t happened to me yet. I am starting a new job that is not desirable at all, but the paycheck is what I need at the moment. Getting my foot in the door is how I am approaching this job and see what happens with it. Commission only jobs were extremely stressful, and even a low salary position gives me some security for now.

What is the Experimental Phase of a Disability?

Getting through life is not always easy. Life can be even more challenging when the unexpected happens. I was not prepared to have a blood clot burst in the back of my head when I was 32. How could I? No one knew it was there until it ruptured. Even though I was not prepared for it to happen, I had to prepare for what happened next. Finding the right treatments and therapies to return to normal, or as close as I could get to normal. I don’t remember how many treatments I had, but it was a lot. The experimental phase of a disability is physical therapy, seizure tests, MRI’s, and a lot more. It takes time and sometimes a herculean effort. Every disability is different and each treatment is different.

There are generally two experimental phases. One is while you’re still in the hospital which transitions to being released from the hospital. The experimental process is part of the recovery process. Finding the right treatments and medicines to alleviate symptoms to give you the best quality of life. The doctors don’t know exactly what will work so they make their best guesses. They make their best guesses based on symptoms and it might take weeks, months, or even years to find the right combination. In my case, it took years to find the right combinations.

There is no manual for life

As with most things in life, we have to experiment in order to find what works. There is no user manual for raising children or how to be a good leader. Just like there is no one medicine that works for every individual. It is all trial and error. For instance, I know that recovering from a disability is not the same as learning how to be an accountant. If I don’t like accounting, I can choose a different career path. Being disabled is not a choice. It is something I have to live with every single day. After many years recovering, I learned to accept it and live with it. My recovery is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. I would not be where I am today if I just decided to quit recovering.

Never give up

Thanks mom

Luckily my mom and stepdad keep a copy of all my bog posts so I was able to just cut and paste this post, thanks guys.

Never give up

Never give up should be a phrase that’s ingrained in everyone’s mind. Especially those who have or are experiencing life altering events. Whether it be from a car accident, stroke, cancer, or a myriad of other life events, never give up. The best advice I have is never give up.

There are things that happen in our lives that completely change our way of life, our thinking, and even our loved ones that are called upon to care for people. Sometimes loved ones lives are also changed in ways no one can imagine. They become caregivers, but also our biggest supporters. It isn’t just the people who have a disability, it’s our loved ones that can never give up as well. Over my many years of being disabled, I have come to appreciate the sacrifices that my loved ones have made on my behalf.

Graduated from college at 51 years old and with a learning disability

It’s up to us

In order to continue living, each individual must accept their new life, learn, grow, and basically wake up every morning ready for the day. Each day we are alive is another day closer to recovery. Doctor visits, therapy sessions, all fill our days. No one can force us to get out of bed and it is definitely justifiable to just sit back and watch life go by because of what we have to deal with every single day. I could sit back and collect my disability checks if I chose to do that, but that’s not the path I chose.

It takes an extra amount of strength to get out of bed each day. For many disabled individuals, it is extremely difficult to just accomplish that task, physically and mentally. Some need that extra push to get out of bed each day. Others are happy to get out of bed each day and smile because they are alive. It may take years to get to that point, but with the right mindset, it will happen.

Website Crashed

Well, my website crashed which means I lost a couple of my blog posts. They were pretty good posts too. A plugin was installed and my made my system go a bit loopy. Content wasn’t showing up, the web pages looked all out of sorts, and I had to call tech support to fix it. The solution was to restore my website to a previous point. That’s what led to me losing blog posts and forcing me to write them again. Or try to because my memory sucks. The links to the posts in my social media don’t work anymore either.

Christmas

It’s the middle of December and I just got our Christmas tree. You know inflation is out of control when Christmas trees are over the top expensive. Me and the kids were already at the Christmas tree place, so it would have been hard to say let’s go to Walmart and buy a fake tree instead. I still got a nice tree for us, but next year will definitely be buying a fake tree.

I haven’t even put the lights up on the house yet. A little bit of lazy mixed in with a little procrastination. You could probably sprinkle in a little bit of don’t feel like climbing the ladder this year into that. I will get everything done this week at some point. Most of the presents have been bought already. I start buying my son’s Christmas presents in the September/October time frame. I just get one present for him during my Walmart grocery shopping trips. It saves a lot of time, a lot of worry, and spreads out the cost of that most expensive holiday.

My daughter informed me this evening that her and my fiancĂ© have changed the tree placement inside the house. No one tells me anything. I just work here, I’m not management. It’s not really that big of a deal I guess. Now I just have to remember where I put the tree stand in the garage. I need to make a map of where everything is in my garage. There is a tendency by someone who shall remain nameless that has a habit of not putting things back in the right place.

Some somber family news

Today I found out that my stepdad’s stepdad passed away at the age of 95. Bill has been battling some health issues and has been fading over the last couple of months. My mom and stepdad have been working very hard the last couple months to take care of him. I hadn’t seen Bill in 2 or 3 years at least. I have a big family and he didn’t really like being around a lot of people, so he didn’t come to many family parties. Bill was a great person and had a lot of stories to tell. My stepdad’s mother passed away some years ago and Bill has been on his own. They were both story tellers. Bill isn’t suffering anymore. He will be missed by everyone who knew him.

Numbers

This is the end of my second week of prospecting, two weeks of going out to the public, in person, selling. The result, nothing as of yet. I have tweaked my approaches, delivered the right advertising material with the right business, I hope. I think I’m pretty organized in keeping track of what I’m doing. I’ve made some spreadsheets that I can understand. At the end of the day, I enter all the information I need.

Organization was one of my biggest problems while I was school. Every class was different and so I had to organize in different ways. Keeping track of assignments, classes, took up a lot of time. My brain just isn’t as organized as I would like. Probably because I forget a lot. If I get distracted for a second, there goes my thoughts. Just POOF, and there they go. My daughter laughs because she tells me something three times, and I still forget it two seconds later.

Although I still haven’t made any sales or done many quotes, I think I’m getting the hang of it. Still have a lot to learn of course, but better every day. It’s benefitting me that I’m starting to do some prospecting while I’m in training. Hopefully, this prospecting for leads now translates into sales after I go into commission only.

Lunch

Today my boss and his wife took me and a few colleagues to lunch. A little Christmas gathering. I had never met anyone else on the team before. All nice people. It was interesting to hear them talk a little about their experiences. It wasn’t a working lunch, so it wasn’t all business. It was fun and it was nice to meet more people I will work with. The food was pretty good. I didn’t eat dinner tonight, a big lunch means no dinner for me. And it was nice to get some words of encouragement too.

Surgery

My daughter had a little surgery this morning. Early this morning, which meant I had to wake up a lot earlier. Yes, I care more about waking up early than my daughter’s surgery. It wasn’t a major surgery. She had a small lump on her wrist that she’s been complaining about for months. To make matters worse, they put a humongous cast and wrap around it so she can’t move her wrist. Now she complains about that. She had the nerve to ask me to tape a bag around it and open a bottle of Tylenol for her. The things we do for our kids. Just kidding little one. Love ya. Happy you made it out of surgery with your hand still attached.

It’s been a while

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I posted anything. My time management skills need a refresher course I think. It’s been about 4 months since I graduated from college and I forgot how to manage time. It only took a couple years to learn time management in college, that timeframe needs to be now and not later.

Career

I am still in training right now and still have a lot to learn. Even though I have a lot to learn about insurance, learning how to get clients is slowing me down. The first time I went out to talk to businesses, I chickened out. I made the usual excuses, I didn’t know the material, I didn’t know the pitch well enough, but it was all crap. I came back the next week and started off with 5 businesses one day, and then 9 the day after that. After the first 5 seconds, I was fine. Talking to people is something I’m good at. The first time I walk into an office isn’t to sell anything. It’s to introduce myself and tell them about a few of our products and that’s it. It’s all about getting an appointment booked.

So far, no appointments booked, but I have a few good leads. My confidence is good, and I can read the first person I talk to rather well. It’s only been one week total, and more places to go this week. I find the challenge fun. The training is pretty rigorous, but it’s a results business, and I need to get some results. With every business I talk to, the more confident I get. I’m not stuttering or shaking, just walk in and start a conversation. It’s a numbers game and the more people I talk to, the better odds I have of getting new business.

The biggest factor that I think is holding me back, is that I don’t know anyone here, no natural market. No friends, no family, no nothing. I am beginning to talk to some of the people I do know so I can get some real experience in doing quotes and learning the software and the system. Minus this market, I have to keep talking to as many people as I can and prove to myself and my company that I can do it.

That’s the most worrying part of this job for me, the beginning. If I don’t have clients, I don’t make money. Some might think I’m a little crazy because I’m not that worried about it. I am giving my best and working hard. If I don’t make it, it’s not for the lack of trying. And I don’t give up very easily, especially with my career. It’s my first career in almost 20 years and there are a lot of unknowns for me. For the last 20 years, every single day is an unknown, so I’m used to it. I wake up every day and work, whether it’s school or my career. Nothing has changed in that respect.

The Change

The biggest change between work and school, bad grades or not being able to feed my family. There’s obviously a little more pressure with the latter.

I also had a routine down for when I was in school. It’s been an adjustment of my routine for work and I’m still getting used to this new routine. Now, when my son asks me to take him to the park to ride his bike, I have to say I can’t because I’m working. It’s an adjustment for my kids and my girlfriend too. They have to change with me and it can be difficult for them too. I have to keep that in mind to keep my household happy.

Personal Life

To be honest, my girlfriend is very worried for me about when I start to get commission instead of my paid training. Receiving a salary is almost guaranteed, commissions are not. She’s more worried than I am. I try to help her worry less, but it probably isn’t working. She will stick with me no matter what. This is our future too.

Making our future together as a family is important to me and I want her to know how much she means to me and my kids. I consider us a family, and in that tradition of being a real family, I asked her to marry me. She makes me very happy and I can’t see a future without her in our lives. Oh yeah, she said yes.

Training

I have been training a lot and learning a lot. Maybe I try and overachieve too much. When I was in college, I spent most of my time studying. There was no way around it for me because of my brain problems. Now that I’m training and learning for work, there is more pressure on me because this is for my livelihood and not just for good grades. My work ethic is the same. I am doing all of this training at home, but still manage to put in a lot of hours.

Only a short time left

I’m not the typical college graduate. I’m not in my early to mid 20s. I’m 51 years old and my official retirement date isn’t very far away. This adds a lot more stress with regards to how my finances will be when I retire. It’s only 15 years away. To be honest, disability hasn’t exactly made me a rich man. I have no money saved at all. This is the scary part. One of the main reasons why I chose my career in insurance is It’s flexible and I am in control of how much money I make, or don’t make.

I don’t have to start at the bottom necessarily. If I chose a typical career path, that only gives me 15 years or so to rise through the ranks. One thing I learned during my job search, no one wants to hire a 51 year old disabled person who hasn’t worked in almost 20 years. This is just my opinion of course. My motivation is being able to support my family and that’s another reason why I chose this path.

As I go through the training and learn more, I am becoming more confident that I will be good at what I do. The first few months will be a good indicator of my performance. If I’m good now, I will be better later. A little bit of luck wouldn’t hurt either, although I’ve never considered myself as lucky. My mom might disagree because I’m lucky to be alive. It’s nice to be getting a steady paycheck right now too, and not killing myself like I was doing at the Walmart job which was too physical for me.

The Holidays

The holiday season is coming up. I already started buying presents for my son. I buy one gift for him whenever I go grocery shopping. Grocery shopping is done at Walmart, so two birds. We are going home to California for Thanksgiving this year. Me, my childrens, and my girlfriend. A good family trip. And we’re going to Disneyland while we’re there. Everyone is excited of course. I might have to sit down a lot. Too much walking for me. But it’s more about the family time than my walking ability. It sucks I can’t go on roller coasters anymore. The haunted house and a Small World are about it for me.

I don’t think I’ll get to see my friends too much this time. The last time I was home was last Christmas. It’s been a while so I’m sure I’ll hear about the drama that’s been happening with everyone. Catching up is fun though. Normally I would go hang out with my friends at the bar every night, but that doesn’t appeal to me much anymore. There’s a few things I’d like to do with my girlfriend too, show her more of Southern California even though she lived there for a short time. It’s going to be a fun trip and a little break from training.

Missing Out

Most of my days are spend learning for my new job. It’s an endless sea of videos and lessons to learn. Short quizzes at the end of the lesson, and then move on to the next lesson. I have a set of curriculums to go by, around 10 full pages of lessons. Checking each box and marking it off the list as I go along.

Although I am learning a lot, it can get a bit tedious and hard to concentrate sometimes. I try and break up the monotony by getting up and walking around, getting a snack, stretches, do a quick chore, whatever I feel like doing. I’m not trying to finish too quickly. The faster I go, the less I learn.

It feels the same as when I was in school. Missing out on events and time spent with my kids. I started volunteering for a children’s clinic once a week, working with children in recreational activities. It’s a lot of fun seeing these kids have fun. Everyone is very nice and enjoyable to be around. The program is good for the parents too. I started volunteering to meet more people here since I don’t really know anyone here, and to help the kids to have fun. Kind of reminds me of what I had to go through after my brain explosion. That’s why I want to give back to this community.

Interference

The volunteering is every Wednesday evening. The same night as my son’s baseball games. I should be able to show up for my son’s games late. I miss out on most of the game. This is just something I felt I needed to do. Have more experiences and give something back. The dilemma I faced was my volunteering interfering with my son’s baseball games. There’s no need for me to go to every one of his games. If I was just going to a bar every Wednesday, that would be a different story.

I also joined a veterans group of submariners. The first meeting was last weekend and I had a lot of fun. It’s a nationwide club with bases in many cities. I have never belonged to an organization like this. It’s out of my comfort zone and not typical of me to join a club like this. Again, I wanted to meet more people and this organization does a lot of work in the community. This doesn’t interfere too much with my work or my kids though.

Making Time

In my last post I talked about making more time with my daughter. Last night we watched the ‘House of Dragon’ show together and had dinner at the coffee table. Wasn’t much of a dinner, just turnovers and then ice cream. But it was nice spending time with her. We haven’t done that in a long time. I’ve been missing out on a lot.

I don’t really have to make too much time with my son. When he gets home from school, we do his homework and then he sits next to me at his little table while I work. We all have dinner together every night. We go to his baseball practices and games together. When my girlfriend comes for the weekend, we all go to his games and have family time.

Enjoyment

I do find a little time for myself sometimes. I’ll do a chore, or just relax. My work is actually something I enjoy right now. After I’m done with my training, the hard work will continue, but I think I’ll be good at it. I’ve never done sales before. Talking to people is what I’m good at, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I always talk to people.

It is a little intimidating and frightening to start working on commissions. I am missing out on things to do the job as best I can, learning as much as I can to make me good at what I do. This job does offer a good work/life balance, once I get going of course. The only person who will shape my future is me.

Inconsistency

My blog posting has gotten to be a little less than regular. I do apologize for that. I started my new job last week and the training is well, intense. There is a ton of stuff I have to learn about a whole lot of insurance products. I’m not just a one-stop shop insurance guy. I knew there were a lot of products out there, but the sheer number of them has surprised me. Each different line of insurance has different regulations, different forms, learning each sales system, different types of training, required training, certifications, the list goes on and on.

My Day

My days are strangely reminiscent of my Covid days in college. Watch tons of pre-recorded videos and taking lots of notes. Spending 10 or so hours per day learning and studying. It’s done at home so I do get to get up and stretch and walk around. I don’t want my ass to get glued to my chair which sometimes happened when I was going to school. The padding in my chair is gone. I think the padding was gone last year though.

Today I watched around 9 videos/trainings. All are different lengths, some can be paused to take notes, others I have to take screen shots and go back and take notes after the video ends. So far I have had plenty of support with my training, which I appreciate. I think there needs to be a lot of support when trying to learn so much information. So far I am enjoying it and learning a lot. I think I will do good after the training is done and I’m ready. It doesn’t seem like support will be a problem.

The Life Outside of Work

For the most part, work is it right now. But I still have time to be with my girlfriend. We went to her sister’s grandson’s birthday party over the weekend. It was a Spiderman theme, so my son will be sorry he missed it. Her family is a lot of fun and it’s always nice to see them too. Sunday was a relaxing day, I think we both needed that. She is very supportive of me and understands how much time I put into my work. I love her for everything she does.

My son still has his baseball. That takes up a lot of time usually. Practices and games during the week kind of throws me off my schedule. It usually means he goes to bed later than he normally does and I have to wake him up in the morning for school. I’ll just say that he still needs to improve his game. There aren’t many major league players that dance around in the outfield.

Something that I’m going to start doing is volunteering at a children’s hospital. Getting the kids out to play tennis. It seems recreational activities help them have some fun, if only for a little while. Seeing their smiles and getting to know them will be fun for me.

There’s one area where I’m lacking as a father. Making more time for my daughter. I spend time with my girlfriend, my son’s baseball, volunteering, I need to make more time for her. She can feel left out. There isn’t really a time that I can remember when I’ve been in a really good mood. The stress of school, when I was looking for a job, finding a job and then having to quit, and starting this job. The stress level has been quite high and I think my daughter has taken the brunt of it all. She’s the closest to me, but I’ve neglected her the most.

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