New job! Some personal updates
Long-time readers will know my story so far: After blogging as a hobby for a good five years, I left the world of formal employment four years ago for a new venture, that of releasing my shingle as a freelance writer and independent actuary, as my business cards read — or rather, it was intended to be a stepping stone to another job, though I hadn’t figured out what yet.
Did I succeed? Honestly, probably not. I had several goals. I had hoped to make enough money writing with my Forbes platform to consider myself able to “earn a living” in a modest sense, but the initial success I had in building an audience s faded when Forbes instituted its paywall. I’m not judging their business decisions – I have no idea what their results look like and as far as I know they were operating at a loss before, and I understand covid has reduced ad revenue everywhere (even though you’ I think the increase in working from home would have had the opposite effect), but that’s the way it is. To be really successful, it would have required figuring out how to catch the attention of other writing platforms and – let’s face it – developing more skills in deep research. (Ironically, just a few months ago, I was contacted by someone on another platform offering another personal finance freelance writing job, even though it would have required a different kind of skill and a willingness and ability to get into “how to save for retirement” instead of “what is Congress doing?”) I had also hoped to establish the kind of connections that would mean I would be considered an expert source, or someone to be involved in the conversation, in terms of issues like public pensions or social security.And I would have really liked freelancing to be an intermediate step towards working in the field, in a think tank or a research institute .
This does not happen. It turns out that my dream job would have been at a research institute specifically focused on retirement, but the only entity that exists is located in Boston and has no interest in hiring anyone remotely. Other such “dream jobs” really want someone with crazy technical skills, and there are so many people who want this type of “think smart” job that they can be quite picky. As far as I could tell, potential employers were really more interested in technical skills than subject matter – and even when I took my courses for the applied economics degree, it certainly seemed like that was the norm of land in a given area. specialty not because of a particular interest, but because you had found a feasible research method. It also became clear that when it comes to public policy, there are simply boats full of people trying to get into this space. I might think my ideas are better than those of a Zoomer with no life experience, but employers don’t care. Moreover, these jobs are so few that generalizing is also a mistake. And in any case, the one-year master’s program was enough for me to learn how to interpret economics papers and to know that I didn’t want to learn the math at the more advanced level needed to write such papers to get PhD. . it is a prerequisite for many such jobs.
So in the middle of my deliberations on what to do after completing the program, I ended up getting in touch with someone from a health insurance company, had a few more conversations and formal interviews , and I’m now a health insurance reserve actuary. Is it a job that allows me to Change The World? No. It’s a well-paying job, offers a good work-life balance, allows me to work from home and, key point here, was willing to hire me based on my sales pitch: “I’m a certified actuary with rudimentary training. proficiency in health insurance and a demonstrated ability to learn new things,” and a month into labor it’s “so far so good,” although I don’t have a clear idea yet. the evolution of my professional responsibilities over time.
And right now, I feel like I’m trying to figure out, “where next?” by other means. How diligently do I want to follow developments in pension policy, public pensions, social security, etc. ? I’m already well aware that I had given up writing about every retirement newsworthy topic, but having gone from a small blogger enthused by the level of page views of a small blogger, to a Forbes author and sporadic Federalist contributor , leave me trying to figure out what my future blogging plans are, which I think will come up in the “I just have to write about something that bothers me!” rather than “I will persuade people by writing this!”
So stay tuned – or not – to see what I end up doing!