Should I stay longer or go sooner?

I’ve been thinking about this since my first year full time. I don’t enjoy my work. I spent two miserable, depressing years in valuation and I’m currently in a data modeling role. My true interest is in stop loss or reinsurance pricing and, while the opportunity is available at my current company, there a limited number of roles available in that department.

I just don’t believe by my company anymore. And while they claim they do, I don’t think they really care about me. For the first two years, every promotion, raise, and study hour was a battle. I’m exhausted. I’m still underpaid and underemployed.

I’m scheduled to take my final preliminary exam early next year. Leaving wiggle room for a fail and modules, I’m targeting an official ASA designation date of August/September 2021. I don’t want to leave my team hanging, but I don’t think I can hold on until summer 2022 when my rotation is over.
In 2021, I’ll have about 4 full years experience.

Do I need to wait longer to gain more experience? Should I take the chance and hope I get a more desirable placement? Do I keep fighting for more? I don’t want to burn bridges with this company, but with everything I’ve been through, I wouldn’t be interested in coming back. Should I leave immediately after I pass final preliminary? I’m concerned that I don’t have any health or reinsurance pricing experience. This would be my first company change and I’m just trying to position myself in the best way possible for my career.

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You should start looking now, and move at the first reasonable opportunity. 2+ years of experience is plenty to move on.

Nobody cares if you leave, just do so pleasantly and professionally. You don’t burn bridges by leaving for a better opportunity.


+1 on leaving professionally and courteously burns no bridges.

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I agree. If you hate your job and have two years of experience, you should start looking for a new job.

And very few actuaries are so old fashioned or petty to hold it against you if you move. Employment loyalty (in either direction) really hasn’t been a thing for decades. Be professional. If they don’t walk you out the door when you give notice, do a good job of passing off your work. When you give notice, share the positive reasons, not the negative reasons. (I’ve always hoped to do reinsurance pricing, and this is a great opportunity", not, “you guys made me fight for every study hour”.) You’ll be fine.

  1. Always be looking
  1. This is an important lesson: it’s only business. A company can’t care about you, but people can. Individuals may care about you, but even if they do, they may have limited power. to help you re: salary and/or assignments.

  2. Don’t wait til you pass the exams. You may not look as diligently while you’re studying, etc., but this is a small profession and you never know when opportunities arise. Always be looking, as I said in #1.


You owe nothing to this company. You do work, they pay you. That is it.

Someone else will do your work. It’s not that difficult. Even a caveman could do it!

Find a company that will pay you what you think you’re worth (or some compromise between that and your current salary).


Part of me wondered momentarily if you should stick around until ASA and then move. After about ten seconds, the answer is a clear NO.

Start looking now.

However in about a year you hope to have credentials so you are looking for a company that recognizes you will soon be an ASA and hopefully they will have room for your career to develop and you won’t hate your role again 2 years from now.

Although if you leave again after ASA that would be understandable too.

A good 60% of the reason to look now is that it can take a while to find positions, get interviews, get offers, etc.
And another 50% because you hate your job now.
So, you need to exert 110% effort to find a new job.

You can check the math. It’s correct.

I was having an extremely bad day and wrote this in a panic lol. I’ve gone back and forth with this for a little while, and I think I’m going to hold on until I get my ASA. First, I want to have a little bit more negotiating power with my salary when I do decide to leave. Second, I’m also looking for a promotion. I think I’ll have an easier time that way, and can even employ the help of a recruiter. After all the crap I’ve been through I also kind of want the generous ASA bonus and paid unused vacation days my company gives.

To clarify, I completely hated my last role, and wasn’t treated very well there. I’m treated well in my new role, but 1) get stressed and anxious about going to work and seeing former coworkers (I actually had to start therapy because of my previous role) and 2) I’m not happy with my current job responsibilities and workload. Right now my current work situation allows me a lot of down time that I use in addition to study time, and once my company goes back to the office, I can still work from home on a regular basis. So I think if I’m away from the office environment, and really just focus on my exam progress and maintaining my current responsibilities, I can peace out in October 2021.

Good luck!

In everything, I guess. Hope you improve your life and situation. We’ll be here to support you whatever happens.

So, how did things go? Did you get your ASA? Have you switched jobs?

Yes I did get my ASA! No, I haven’t left my current employer, yet, but I am planning on leaving after year end bonuses are paid out in a couple of months. So just holding on for a little while longer.

The last year has been a ride. In some ways my experience improved, and in even more ways the situation worsened. In the end, I have come to conclusion that I cannot grow my career at this company.

I tried really hard to turn things around. I opened the lines of communication with senior management, I tried to get more involved. Without getting into too many details, on one side of things I’ve been lied to, ignored, and made a token for diversity. On the other side of things I’ve been told “we see what happened with George Floyd, we acknowledge BLM, we hear our bipoc employees, stick around since we’ve got plans to promote our diverse hires”. That was pretty much it for me. I’ve finally gotten over feeling like I should just shut up and be grateful the company hired me. I’ve started to heal from trauma, take care of my mental health, and view this job as just a means to an end. Getting my ASA was 99% of the battle and I remain focused on regaining my happiness and getting the hell away at the first opportunity.

I will keep you updated!!


Congrats on the ASA, that’s a big deal!

For year end bonuses, check to see who qualifies for them. At my prior company, anyone who was employed through the prior December 31 qualified. So I left a new job on Jan 2, started a new one a couple of weeks later, and still got the bonus come March.


Thank you! I’m sooo relieved to finally crossed the finish line for ASA. I’m studying for FSA exams now so I still need to get around to celebrating properly.

I’ll definitely keep your advice in the back of my mind if a good opportunity comes up. I’m not sure where I would find that info and I don’t want to give it away that I’m thinking about leaving if I end up not being able to collect my pay lol.

FSA exams suck. I’m waiting results on my last one.

I found it on our company’s internal website after some searching. I think I looked in the employee handbook, and in the HR area of our website. Anything that talked about year end bonuses. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it either! I had someone who used to work for the company tell me, but I wanted to verify on my own before going through with it.

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Yeah I just checked our handbook and I have to be employed on the day the bonus is paid. boooooooooooo

Darn. Worth a shot I guess, sorry.

For what it’s worth, I checked and my new company is the same way. Looks like the last company was just generous.

So when is the bonus paid? My “year-end” bonus isn’t paid out until mid-March and my salary bump takes effect in April. I’m not sure if it would be worth waiting a long time for a pre-ASA year-end bonus. If you were going to wait 4 months to collect a $5K bonus you may as well just take a $15K raise today instead. No idea what the reality of the numbers should be, but you get the point. What is the opportunity cost in salary in exchange for bonus? Obviously not expecting an explicit number here.

Also everything you have said makes it sounds like you plan to move for very good reasons, best wishes on hunting down that next opportunity that will give you more room to grow.

And, hopefully the next company doesn’t require you to be employed at the start of the year to be eligible for year-end bonuses.