Switching Gears

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a year since I lost my job, and it’s still hard to believe that the place where I used to work now no longer exists. The municipal government bought the land and soon it will be transformed into a parking lot, or an arts centre, or something like that. It’s sad, but such is life.

Anyway, since becoming jobless, I have made a few attempts at finding work. I fired out the job resume here and there to places that were looking for office/writing/administration people, but nothing ever came out of any of it. I started questioning whether journalism, and writing in general, is still a viable option for me career-wise. Yes, I love to write and I would love to be able to do it for a living, but unfortunately it seems that in Kamloops, unless you have 10+ years experience and have a serious industry “in,” getting hired at one of the few other news spots is a rarity. I had to decide if I wanted to keep trying to make a career out of reporting, or if I wanted to switch gears and pursue something new.

I thought about the possibility of going back to university and repurposing the credits I already have into another degree. One option was teaching, which I’d have to go back and get more English credits, along with a variety of other courses. I even thought about getting a trade, but I realized that I’m a baby when it comes to heavy lifting and fire. (I thought about getting into welding, but that’s Kyle’s thing and I’m afraid of lighting myself on fire or cutting my hand off with a plasma cutter.)

I knew I wanted a career where the pay was decent, the course work wasn’t overly time consuming (I thought about nursing but I’d have to do some major upgrading starting at high school-level courses – talk about starting at Square 1.), and the industry wasn’t about to go anywhere (but was easy enough to get into).

Enter the insurance industry. I’m not talking becoming a sleazy insurance salesperson, selling life insurance that hardly covers a hangnail. I’m just talking about becoming a home and auto insurance agent; helping those who need to renew their car insurance and keep the roof over their heads in the case of misfortune. The starting wage is liveable with a kid or two, the hours are good, and people are ALWAYS going to need insurance. Bingo.

So, after swallowing my pride a little bit and realizing that just because I’m not working in the journalism industry, doesn’t mean I have to throw my degree completely out the window (freelance can still be a possibility, afterall), I bit the bullet and registered with the Insurance Institute of British Columbia and paid my tuition to get my general insurance certification. I am able to study at home, have one whole year to write the final exam (which is held where I live and is multiple-choice), and then have one year to find a job and make it official. Easy peasy.

Let me tell you, it wasn’t an easy decision to make. I loved working in the newsroom and being able to know what was going on in town before the majority of people, but unfortunately, the days of the print media newsroom are fizzling. I wish I could have made my love to write and story tell into a career, but I’ll live with the odd freelance gig and blogging. Sometimes I feel like a little bit of a sell out, but I need to be able to help provide for my family as well. While Kyle earns a great living where he works and we can live on his wages alone, that’s a lot of pressure on him. Plus, I miss working. Being home with Isla is amazing, but some days I just need a little more human interaction than the odd trip to Walmart and my only words are, “I’ll pay with debit.” I miss meeting new people and coming home with crazy customer stories.

I know dealing insurance for a living isn’t my dream job, but sometimes you just have to face the reality that you have to reset those dreams. In reality, my dream is to have a happy and healthy family and lifestyle, so I’m okay with switching gears.

7 thoughts on “Switching Gears

  1. I think it’s great that you are reevaluating what is important and switching gears. I think this is such an important part of growing up. The honest to god truth is we can’t all have “dream jobs” or even jobs we love. And really, life is not about work, it’s about all the things outside of work. Your last sentence about having a happy, healthy family and lifestyle is honestly so much more important. Plus don’t underestimate the importance of a job with awesome coworkers and flexible hours, both which you might be able to achieve in this new industry!

    When it comes time to job search let me know, I have a few contacts at Interior Savings Insurance I could hook you up with. Good luck!

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  2. Good luck with your new career plans! I agree with you about having a happy, healthy family and lifestyle – medical transcription was in no way my dream career, but right now it’s allowing me to work from home, so it’s all good!

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  3. Ah, yes. It happens to most of us at some point. Journalism really isn’t a career for life anymore.

    I feel your conflict. I’m leaving journalism/publishing next month and while I’m ready and excited and absolutely sure this is the right choice (I’ll still be working on *content* but from more of a marketing angle) I will definitely miss the cool perks, the buzz. Even in online media, it’s tough. You kill yourself with the workload and it’s thankless because most money still comes from print, and nobody has figured it out. It’s like everyone EXCEPT publishers are investing in content, and ultimately, I’d be a fool to ignore that. I’m interested in earning more, having job security, and if I don’t get to write enough in my new role, well, I’ve always said writing makes for a better hobby than a job.

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  4. I feel your pain… I’m still job searching 2 years after graduating. I’m pretty much looking for anything that pays decent and is close enough. It’s a bummer =-/

    My mom used to sell insurance before she retired and it’s a good job with security. Despite it not being what you necessarily though you’d be doing, I think you’ll like it.

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  5. Insurance can be a really great field to get into. My mom works in insurance and while it’s not the most glamorous job or really anyone’s dream job, the pay is good and it’s not a stressful position. It seems like this is the best decision you can make for you and your family and that’s the most important thing! Plus, like Amber said, sometimes the flexibility and coworkers can make all the difference! I think it’s a brave step to take, to search for something new and try something completely different. Good luck with all the studying and job searching!

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