Finally, a fresh start

Well, it took much longer than expected, but a new chapter in my life has been opened and finally begun. In November 2005, I responded to an e-mail that my resume on generated and although the job sounded too good to be true, my skepticism was eventually given reasonable answers and I decided to take a big leap and change careers. I am no longer a sports writer…

I am now self-employed. After training galore, passing a license exam and even more training, I am now on my way. I am a field service representative for the National Association of the Self-Employed and a licensed insurance agent in the state of Wisconsin for MEGA Life and Health Insurance Company. The career-switch is a radical one, but has turned out to be a much better fit for me.

While I loved being a sports writer at my local paper, the truth of the matter is it’s a poorly-paying job that has brought me to the brink of bankruptcy. Journalism may sound like a glamourous career and I suppose if you work for ESPN, it is. But for the work-a-day sports journalists at regular newspapers, we’re paid less … often a LOT less … than most public school teachers. Plus, generally speaking, teachers have much better benefits packages.

So, what’s the appeal of being a self-employed insurance agent? Surprisingly, there’s more to it than just better earning power, which was of course the initial draw.

Like a lot of people, I’ve been taken aback by recent skyrocketing rates in health insurance. And when I worked in a “corporate America” job, there wasn’t a lot I could do about it. Your employer chooses the package and options, pays for part of it and you’re stuck taking it or being uninsured for the most part. And recent yearly spikes in health insurance rates over the past five years have hit me as hard as anyone else.

So have I joined the dark side? I really believe I haven’t. Like most people, I didn’t have a very good impression of insurance agents. But that impression was mostly formed from car insurance folks. The people I’ve met during my training and at the company I work for… I can’t think of a single one I dislike.

And I really can say that I can’t recall the last time I’ve met with a group of people more honest and principled than my fellow agents… outside of a church setting, at any rate.

Although journalism to insurance is a big jump, a lot about my old job has prepared me for this one. I think about all the stories I’ve done the last four or five years about kids or adults who are hit with devestating illness or circumstances, without being insured. You’re heart hurts for their circumstances, but as a journalist all I could do is tell their story and hope the community responded with some help.

As an NASE/Mega rep, I now can be more proactive, delivering affordable plans to folks who otherwise can’t afford it. It’s been a great ride so far, and I’m just getting started. I’m betting I’ll really enjoy it once I get my business rolling and start bringing in some income.

Anyway, Wonderful Pessimist is back! And this time, I’m gonna be more free to make regular posts. Get ready for some fun!

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