Many years and moons ago I began selling insurance…
Back in the early 70’s there was this time when I was not a righteous member of the gainfully employed crowd (only smirk if you’ve never been there) and a friend asked me to go to an interview with a local agency of a major insurance company.
- “What, sell Insurance?” asked I with a look of surprise on my face.
- “Yes,” he answered, “That, sell insurance… and, why not?”
I have many defects (Quiet there in the gallery… no need to agree so readily!!) but fear of the unknown is not one of them. I went to the interview and received an offer to start working immediately… well, OK… that’s the same offer made to most any walking body that might sashay into that office back then… The decision was made to start selling this product, without understanding how much and how drastically my later life would change as a result.
The sale of insurance, as a profession, carried somewhat of a stigma back then and this was not lost on yours truly. But needs of food, shelter and daily countenance do not understand the concept of “stigmas” so, I went on to my training period with The Prudential Insurance Company, affectionately known as “The Rock”. What’s more, this was a debit insurance office, which was the then more modern euphemism for the small, monthly collected old industrial insurance.
What a collection of characters I had the chance to meet!! Phil, the retired army captain, straight as an arrow, physically and mentally. Then there was “Pinky”, the office perennial sales leader, along with his manager Salvatore. Two stalwart old school Italians (amongst several others in their group) who were loud, funny and friendly. And I can’t forget “Vinnie from The Rock” tall, gangly, orange mop head who was the archetypal salesman… Green pants, loud shirt and checkered sports coat to go with an incredibly bubbly personality… OK, overbearing personality….
That was the beginning of my Insurance career. A hotbed of activity, visiting neighborhoods, collecting premiums which went down to as little as $.50 per month (yes, fifty cents) while talking to clients and their neighbors trying to dredge up new business… I actually survived that office, mostly because I was guided by a good human being and knowledgeable leader by the name of Bernie… Eventually I learned to sell larger policies than those the office could accommodate and went on to “greener” pastures.
Some 44 years later, after holding down many different positions within the insurance business which ranged from sales, to sales management and corporate director and consultant, I am now “semi-retired”. The wonderful years spent in many countries around the world because of tenures with international companies, are part of a web of memories which keep most of these instances alive and warm. And I say “most” because there are definitely some instances which are probably best left for the “delete” bin of the mind.
It is said by those who know more than I do -who make up a rather large contingent- that a person, in the latter years of his/her life tends to become an amalgam of all those experiences lived along the way. I can only hope that I may have managed to nurture the better experiences into my makeup, culling those which could leave a negative component.
Well, I could only hope this is true….
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