I don’t know that I want to be an actuary anymore. I’m not very good at it. I mean, I’m fine at it, but I’m not excellent at it and I’ve never had a passion for it. The problem is, I have no other passions that I can make a career out of.

I love my work, I truly do. I don’t necessarily love my company, and hustle culture is toxic and I’m not interested in playing that game. I don’t want my boss’s job. I’m definitely not interested in advancement of any kind, really, because that would require believing in some kind of corporate kool-aid mumbojumbo.

So, clearly I’m burnt out. It happens several times a year for me, often when work slows down after a busy period, which is exactly now.

How do you address/avoid burn out? I’m not interested in leaving my company for reasons and I’m not going to discuss these thoughts with my manager, because other reasons. I can’t take time off work right now because I have FMLA leave coming up.

I’m actually not even looking for advice for my own situation…just looking to hear from other people how they tackle burn out themselves.

Taking time off is how I do it. It usually takes me getting another project I like to get reenergized for work. My current role has gotten old really fast. My team built out an amazing analytics suite in Power BI for our customers. Then the team that is supposed to be doing these things took my best employee from me. Then my bosses boss told me I should have spent more time consulting with them through building as they are the experts. It shouldn’t have been me that trained and developed the best visualization person in the department.

My boss didn’t take up for me and told me to stay in my lane even if it meant not getting as much done. Corporate politics is bullshit. Guess who isn’t going to stay in their lane? I like visualizations and they are the perfect solution for our customers. We’re going to keep building them.

you sort of painted the answer into a corner, if you won’t leave job or discuss with your manager.

Taking time off makes sense

you start off speaking of actuarial work like it is all the same and i think it can vary greatly depending on where you work, what lines you work on (life, health, P&C), and sublines within, the type of company (direct, reinsurance, consulting), function (pricing or valuation)

The fact that you like the work, but not the company pace or your manager points looking to a job change, but it seems you are tied to your company for now. You don’t want to discuss, but is there an end point to it? Would a nice signon bonus make the problem go away

I think I was a pretty good actuary, but would never call it a passion for me. I never felt like any career called to me as a passion, so I decided I might as well choose one that helped minimize years worked. I set a goal of early retirement a long time ago, and being an actuary helped make that happen.

During one of my worst burnout periods, I planned for an extended global trip as a break between jobs. That was fun and helped re-energize me.

When I finally decided to retire, it was again during a bad burnout period. I had enough banked to retire for a while, but every additional year worked helps reduce risk.

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work less to prevent burnout. your work is dispensable, your health is not.

these two statements seem at odds with on another.

So maybe you need a new job. Maybe at a smaller firm. Even though you said you won’t/can’t.

No. Money and status don’t motivate me. And at a point, they have the opposite effect.

Nah, I know that’s not the case. I have worked in retirement, health, P&C, and now life and annuities. I love the work I do now, and that’s not always been the case.

I don’t enjoy the stuff outside of the work I do. I don’t like the politics, or the mentality. I’m not built to care about profits or bottom lines, just not something I feel matters. I’m grateful to have a job I enjoy, and recognize profitability is what fuels all of that, but it doesn’t light a fire under me. I want to be doing different things with my life, and I don’t want my career to take so much energy out of me that I don’t have the ability to do those things.

I’ve worked at several different companies and I’ve yet to find one that gives me back anything close to what it takes out of me. I think it’s really an issue with the system, so I don’t see it changing.

I also have the frustration of being an authentic and caring person. That’s being recognized, and management wants me to do more with my career, become a leader, etc. I don’t want those things for myself. You would think saying nah, I’m good would be enough, but it’s not. I’m burning bridges by not wanting to advance. Apparently contentment is a flaw.

And then there’s the fact that I really can’t work remotely, it would kill me. And I can’t relocate. So my options are very limited.

But like, again, I don’t want a solution, I just want to hear if other people go through what I go through and what they do about it.

I’m a little confused by liking what you are doing and feeling burnout. Maybe I just don’t follow but those 2 concepts seem at odds with each other.

It sounds like you get bored during the slow periods. No clue how to fix that as that happens to me at times.

I like my day to day work. I review the risks of the business we could bid on, I create the process to price the business, I review the work, I work on the continuous improvement aspects of expanding the business. That’s what I love, that’s what I want to keep doing, that’s what I feel qualified to do.

My job description makes up maybe…50%? 75%? of what I do. The rest is what burns me out. I’m not going to get into the details, because that’s dirty laundry, and not relevant here.

And when I’ve expressed this, I get the sense that I’m risking being written off entirely. I want to do my job, and continue to do my job, and not have to pick one of two tracks: superstar or dead weight waiting to be cut.

So when I get a break from all the extra stuff, I realize how much it’s taking from me and how much I’m struggling. Staying busy is a distraction from that.

Maybe it’s just a midlife crisis.

Let’s be serious.

Who really has a passion for being an actuary?

It is just fine to just have a job and do it.

[I have a passion for Stu. I do not have a passion for being an actuary.]


It does suck, though, being in a job where one is seen as overhead.

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sometimes i’ll get absorbed in a project and hours will go by and won’t even notice

but most times it’s freakin’ boring

better than being a dishwasher

it’s a blessing in disguise

There are fraternal insurance companies. “Not for profit” companies that don’t pay taxes and instead give back to the communities and people that own their insurance. Profit and bottom line is not the main driver, solvency and giving back are bigger drivers. Check them out if you need a different motivation

I took your not wanting to leave your company for reasons to mean that maybe there was a loan to repay (educational or pension withdrawal, possibly vesting, that a bonus could alleviate)

The world needs ditch diggers, too.

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“What they do about it” is a solution.
I’ve switched jobs, cities. I’ve told my boss “I’m happy doing what I’m doing and nothing more. Im happy to make your job easier if it doesn’t make me uncomfortable.”

Any burnout period with me has ended up in a job change. Sure at the beginning it seemed overwhelming as to what I’d do, but after a lot of digging and disappointment something would come along. It’s taken me more than 20 years of work before finding something that I enjoy doing, where people value me and allow me to have a life. There are so many different things an actuary can do. Finding what fits best is tricky, and interviewing is about as humbling an experience as there is, but in hindsight it was totally worth the effort.

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