After 12 years in education, I decided that I needed to try something different. I have thrown caution to the wind, and have jumped into the financial services industry full bore. What led me to believe that this was the right field for me? Let me explain.
First, I believe that I have a mind with an analytical bent.
I like to analyze things, especially anything that can be quantified. Record keeping, budgeting, compliance, and cash flow analysis as the local education association treasurer was strangely exciting. Using past history to make a budget and prediction to fund a class trip while running the concession stand at my school was very gratifying. Reviewing data from the insurance consortium to provide an explanation of increased insurance premiums was invigorating.
This is not me trying to facetious. The part of my mind that led me to become a MATH teacher enjoys challenging, abstract problems to solve.
Maybe I could work in an analytics department of a major corporation, or become an actuary. I have read that the large insurance firms have good training for actuaries, and will hire general math majors.
But the problem with those types of positions is the lack of interaction with people. One of the aspects I enjoyed most about teaching is cultivating relationships. I especially enjoy cultivating that relationship if it is centered around something that someone has shown genuine interest. For two years I taught a personal finance math class, which is when my interest in financial services was piqued. I liked researching the financial topics covered in class, and I really enjoyed explaining them to students. I really began to wonder if this is something I could do. Could I take my love of the abstract, and turn it into a pathway to assist people with their own finances?
This summer I decided now was the time to find out. And there were several other logistics that pushed me in the direction of financial services.
First, I have no career network. School has been my life, so the only other people I know are former students and teachers. Couple my limited network with the knowledge that many jobs that are filled are never posted to the public, spelling doom to many outside career opportunities.
Second, the jobs posted online or in newspapers often get hundreds of applications. The jobs that require online applications will typically use software to sort applications. Coming from teaching, my application experience probably didn’t contain many of the key words needed for the position. Consequently, my application could have been being tossed out by screening software.
Third, it seems like every employer out there wants someone who can step into a job and be productive immediately, without any training. Entry level positions that offer training were nearly impossible to find. It seemed like even the entry level spots expected candidates to undergo job specific training in college.
I don’t have a natural network, don’t have the right key words on my resume, and can’t find any paid training.
Luckily for me, the barrier to entrance into the financial services industry is incredibly low. Of course with a low barrier to entry, and marketing of “unlimited earning potential,” the burnout rate in the profession is even worse than the teaching I am leaving behind.
Maybe this will work, maybe it won’t. Right now I am going to give it a try. On Monday, I became an official representative. Now it is up to me to make this work.