After Finn was born, I started studying for my insurance license. My father had taken the exam two decades earlier and assured me it was no big deal. However, during class, our instructor explained that the current commissioner, who holds a law degree, believed the licensing process should serve as a gatekeeper, and she had the exam beefed up to weed out undesirables. Studying for and taking that exam was pretty difficult, not to mention a nice chunk of change, but I already had a job lined up and was confident that the investment would pay off.
I can sell. The sales process comes naturally to me. In general, people like me; I’m fairly good at reading people; I don’t try to force a square peg into a round hole; and I’m pretty good at applying just enough pressure to create urgency. I’ve sold advertising, resumes, appliances, cars, and timeshare, and at each job, I’ve been pretty good at closing deals. But for some reason, the insurance business was not a good fit at all. I’ve never felt more out-of-place or more out of my comfort zone than during those two or three months I tried to sell insurance. I don’t want to bad-mouth the people in the industry because my buddy who talked me into trying it is a good person, and I did meet some decent folks in the company, but overall, I felt like I had been dropped into a den of thieves. The culture oozed the mindset that sales is about what you can do to people not what you can do for them, and that goes against everything I believe in and stand for as a person and a professional.
In short, going to the insurance business was the worst mistake I’ve ever made. I have not failed at many endeavors in my life, but I can honestly say that I failed at that one. That was a bleak period in my life: a failing marriage, a career in shambles, one book on the market not doing much, another finished but stuck on the shelf, two children to feed. I don’t believe I’ve ever felt as hopeless and desperate as I did that Christmas. It’s an emotional state I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and if there is anyone out there going through something similar, the best advice I can give you is keep fighting, keep pushing, and keep believing in yourself because the dark days do pass eventually.
That’s all for now.