Should I be looking for a different job?

I have been working at a life insurer for 1.5 years, and I am on the fence about looking for another job. I have 5 exams, and am set to move to a new team in about 6 months. I am considering leaving because my job is in the south, and after I left that area to move back home due to WFH, I don’t particularly want to go back there at the end of the year, when we return to the office. Ideally I want to get a job in the northeast, particularly in NYC, but I am not sure how difficult that would be, since a lot of people want to live/work there. I am conflicted because my boss seems like a very good guy, and has always been good to me, but I am in a role whee I do very niche work that is not really the kind of particularly marketable (i.e. traditional pricing, reserving, etc.) actuarial work I would like to be involved in early on my career, and I feel like my team had plenty of spare time before I was added, so I often just end up with busy work or no work at all. If I could get a job in a more preferable location that would be ideal, but I don’t know if I have the experience to do so. What do you guys think? I suppose there is no harm in looking.

  1. Always be looking.

  2. Yes, it’s nice to have a good boss who will be sad to see you go, but when you make a decision for a new job, you need to look at it from what will happen to you. (You’re probably not going to know ahead of time whether a new boss will be good… that’s a risk.)

  3. I have had a standard actuarial job for about one year, once (and I’m in the greater NYC area). There are lots of different niches. You need to consider your skills that can transfer to other positions when you want to sell yourself.

  4. Interviewing and even getting an offer doesn’t mean you have to jump.

  5. Always be looking.

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Yea, I think I should find out about the rotation in 3-4 months, so to hedge my bets, it may be best to not take anything until I know more about that. There is nothing wrong with maybe applying on my own or using a non pushy recruiter in the mean time though, even if I don’t take the offer, since it takes time to get a job anyway. To just leave before learning about what comes next for me at this company seems like kind of a risk.

This list. This is an excellent post.

Looking does not mean pursuing. I have been in multiple industries and multiple professions. One of the best benefits of the actuarial profession is the amount of support you have in measuring your job against other employers and jobs in the profession. Use them. Salary surveys, recruiters, forums.

Half the jobs posted right now have remote options.

Start applying.

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“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky”
– Michael Scott.

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Thanks for the input. How do you guys suggest I apply, should I just try to find jobs on my own or use recruiters?

Quick note: recruiters want you and expect you to take the new job, regardless of your needs or preferences. They do not get paid if you stay at your job.
So if you’re just looking, do it all yourself. Keep track of any jobs you find and apply to.
(This is in case you eventually decide to use a recruiter. They should be looking for jobs that you cannot find.)
Start by looking at the websites of companies that you are interested in, be it location or type of business.

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this is worth being aware of at least. there is at least one recruiter that will be full on emphatic that you are taking the damn job. so if you are pursuing things now more or less to see if something out there checks all the boxes, if you did use a recruiter they need to know your level of intent.

otherwise, agree with the advice to find companies and read the posts on your own if you can. track them to make sure recruiters aren’t re-presenting you at a place.

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Sounds like a plan, when I have interacted with them, it always seemed like many of them expected that.

I had one time with a recruiter as well where I was pushing for a certain salary to job switch and the recruiter was convinced they wouldn’t go for that so spent a lot of effort trying to convince me to change my mind.

Part of the reason was I was going to have a lot of exam bonus clawbacks and so I eventually suggested I’d switch at the offered salary if they were willing to make me whole on that. In the end he didn’t suggest that to the firm for about a week (meanwhile we were exchanging e-mails on how competitive the offer was) and I ended up going with something else as they came back agreeing to make me whole on the clawbacks.

I don’t particularly blame the recruiter, but I definitely prefer not having a middleman with pay negotiation.

You mean you would have to pay those exam bonuses back right? How common is that in general? Sounds like I need to revisit my student program rules.

Based on what the recruiter said I think it’s very uncommon. It was lucky/unlucky timing as I had I think two bonuses for passing individual exams plus ACAS bonus

I feel like my position (1.5 years exp, 5 exams) puts me in an odd spot where I an not quite EL or near ASA but we will have to see what happens.

This is very general, but how long would a job search take in general in a case like this, if you are in a similar spot to be experience wise, and being pretty selective about location?

I think there are too many variables here to make a generalization.

My second company-move happened with 4-5 years’ experience and a couple of exams shy of ACAS. All-in, I think I had the offer for the new job within 3 months of starting the active search (triggered by an acquisition where I was pretty sure my job would be eliminated, where I lacked seniority for a decent severance package, and I had a few things up in non-work life where I needed more certainty about the next few years, and couldn’t risk a “wait-and-see” approach that, in retrospect, could have landed me a good rotation at the acquiring company). But I had an odd background, didn’t interview well, was flexible about location, and this was during an arguably easier job market.

Your experience would quite possibly be different.

So then you probably started the job a month later, so 4 months after you began seriously looking?
Last time it took me 6 weeks for EL (to get offer), it was a decent company in a fairly undesirable location. So yea it is hard to say. So far I have had 1/2 respond but I haven’t applied to nearly enough as I have have been busy with other things.

If this first company pans out is possible I could start there in october but barring that I think it would be at least November

I think it could hinge a lot on what you mean by “selective about location”, although potentially a lot less today. There are a lot more legit opportunities for permanently remote than there were two years ago, so that helps get location concerns out.

If you live in the NYC or CT area and are looking for a job and are a half decent candidate I don’t think it’d take you very long at all, with the main determinant being how picky you are about the role and how hard you intend to negotiate.

By that I mean want going to the areas you mention or other areas in the northeast

I don’t follow what you mean