I’ve been at the same job for 7 years, underhired initially but promoted twice. But the job isn’t going anywhere and I’m getting discontent. The modest book of business I oversee is regularly profitable and after doing a lot of work on it it’s kind of going along just fine without my help right now.
Part of me wants to do something new. Remote actuarial work would be ideal, if I could find anything. Or something else, but do I really want 20-40% reduction in pay and vacation time.
Part of me says that’s crazy. I get 28 vacation days, zero stress or late hours, and I should just coast and stay here 5-8 more years and retire.
Anyone else been in this situation lately? Any ideas?
join a startup. They’re all remote and generally actuarial-adjacent if you’re in some kind of insurance business (underwriting, claims management, etc.), maybe even supporting actuarial work because you’re with an actuarial software firm. You’l do a bunch of different things, only like 10% of them in the job description because those companies pivot frequently, and all of them you’ll feel unqualified for because it’s the first time you’ve done them but regardless since you know the business you’ll be a far superior contributor to the smart whiz kids who know the tech but can’t tell you why you need the incurred claims report to look a certain way if their life depended on it. You’ll probably take a 20% pay cut and work for 10 years instead of 8, and there’s a chance the company won’t survive that long and you’ll be looking for something new or trying to hang out your consulting shingle with just a few years left. But the cumulative enjoyment and challenge will make you feel so alive during that whole time that you won’t imagine how you ever survived standard cubicle life.
While it never hurts to look around (and I like the suggestion about seeking out a startup), with 5-8 years to go before retirement, I think there is something to be said for coasting at work, and perhaps channeling your discontent into a new hobby.
I’m a bit further away from retirement, but had a similar bit of stress several years ago. I was able to translate my work discontent into a new, unexpecte assignment at my employer that helped…but I was also cognizant that my situation with my employer is one that is ideal for work-life balance reasons, and too great a change would create complications at home.
So, I fell into a new hobby. Passion with the new hobby mitigates some of the discontent I might have at work…especially since I need work to pay well to support the new hobby.
Yeah I’m probably crazy to even ask this question in such a good situation, sorry for the humblebrag. My goal is to retire a bit early. It helps that I don’t have insanely expensive retirement plans. I’m 50 and would like to retire or go half-time by 57.
There don’t appear to be a lot of remote-only actuarial jobs so my search might be quickly over. Seems hybrid is much more common but that involves a move. Probably easiest to just coast… I just told my boss during our mid-year chat that I was a bit bored with things and he understood. I didn’t convey any intention to leave and I don’t think he got that sentiment; he reiterated it’s a by-product of having done a good job and he is going to try to throw some new stuff at me but it doesn’t look that exciting.
I struggle during our “slow” times because our “busy” times are so challenging and engaging that the difference is stark, and it’s a really abrupt shift between the two, so I empathize with the discontent of coasting. I used to deal with that discontentment by using all my vacation time during the slow times, but COVID crushed that over the past 2.5 years. I’ve got plans to really dig into our data during this year’s slow season to see if we can identify and target areas of inequity with appropriate initiatives. I don’t know if that’s something you can do in your line of business (I work in health), but it’s something that is making me excited this year, because it’s different enough from my ordinary work that it’s going to be challenging, but related enough that it’s going to be really valuable to our customers if we can make progress.
I applied for a position in San Francisco once and I was told that they had trouble hanging onto their actuaries because they kept getting poached by big tech companies. I imagine many roles in those companies would be fully remote or maybe you have to turn up once a month/quarter. I don’t know what the job titles were, but I imagine it was something to do with predictive analytics.
I currently price farm insurance. In my spare time at work and without anyone asking, I developed a basic tiering structure using some innovative variables I’ve not seen used by other insurers which should give the already profitable program even more lift. I’ve had to sell this idea, and it now has some support from management but change is slow. I initiate most rate changes but I really have gone over the business with a fine-toothed comb and don’t see anything much to improve in the foreseeable future.
The first thing you need to figure out is what you need out of your job. Sit down, make a list, study it, revise it, and then compare it to what your job is currently providing. This is not always an easy task. Some things are obvious, I want to make $X or need 28 vacation days. Realistically, this crosses more than just your job but into life in general. For example, I have a need to help people grow. When I went from being a manager to being an individual contributor that created a need gap, particularly when I was on a team as the only one doing what I did. When I moved to my current role, I provided a lot of mentorship to the junior team members. However, that mentorship role has decreased as those team members have gained experience which leaves a gap for me. I fill that gap by coaching.
I’m in a similar boat as you, in that I plan to retire in 8-10 years and I’m in a good paying job, fairly low stress, and a really good work/life balance. It makes finding a different job tough because the risk of changing is high in that I could lose some of those aspects without having my needs met (like coaching). I work to live and not live to work so that makes me weigh the work/life balance pretty high in my list. So if I was you, my choice would be to coast it out (unless I thought a new role would better meet my needs of course). But I’m not you and maybe your work life is super important to you and you need a role that is challenging and coasting is just going to make your life miserable. So figure out your needs and that will help guide you.