If you do not live in Atlanta, then why are you reading this blog? Just kidding, you’re more than welcome to stay, but really Atlanta is an amazing place to work.
Working in Atlanta
When applying for jobs in Atlanta, there are tons of options and opportunities, but some how many of my friends still struggle to find a good one.
That sadly was me as well starting my senior year of college. I had finally achieved all of the accolades I needed for my job, but I had difficulty finding the right one.
Specifically, my desired career was to become an actuary. Luckily, after 9 months of interviews and testing the waters on different paths, I found a internships that is now my job today! Although, most of you probably have no idea what that career is.
What is an Actuary
Let’s take a step back then and discuss:
What is an actuary?
To be honest, that is similar to asking:
What is a Doctor?
Right? Because how would you even answer that question. Well, a doctor…uhh heals people? No not exactly, a doctor diagnoses patients, reviews x-rays, preforms surgeries occasionally, does research, basically anything in the hospital a doctor either does or has done probably.
In short, that is kind of an actuary. We do not do ONE thing, but instead we have a set of skills that allows us to be flexible. The simplest definition of an actuary I have heard came from my co-worker, Ian. Therefore, here is Ian’s definition of what an actuary is:
Actuaries put a present numerical value on future uncertainties based on the past.
That seems simple enough right? You would think so, but like being a doctor, there are a million of things that the word “uncertainties” could compose.
In unison, there are certain actuarial practices or principles that actuaries must adhere to. These are mostly communicated, learned, and demonstrated through a series of exams that every credentialed actuary must pass.
Some countries are different, but for the U.S., there are two main organizations to take exams from, and each one is basically for a different path.
Health, Life, and Pension Actuaries
These branches of the actuarial profession will typically take exams from the Society of Actuaries or SOA for short. The SOA is notorious for giving extremely hard exams, changing up the credential path, and sending you too many emails.
Each of the paths are very large in the actuarial field, and you can make plenty of money doing them. With the exception of pension, health and life are thriving markets that anyone should be able to easily find a job in, given you have passed the first two basic exams, P and FM.
P&C which stands for property and casualty actuaries, are basically everything else. This is my field and as an actuarial consultant, I work mainly with workers compensation, general liability and auto liability reserving. Super exciting right?
P&C actuaries will almost always go through the Casualty Actuarial Society or CAS for short. These guys, oh these guys, really really love to give hard exams. Historically, these exams will have one to two bad questions on the exam that need to be thrown out, not enough detail, poor wording, or just an extreme level of side page of the book small font information that you need to know.
The CAS should in all honesty rework their testing strategy. Because, from experience, many questions are just a poor reflection of your knowledge level. For those reasons, I would say the CAS exams are harder than the SOA exams, but not for good reasons if that makes sense.
Why did I Become an Actuary
At this point, you are probably wondering:
Geese, why did you become an actuary?
You are also probably still wondering, what an actuary is, but hey that’s not my fault. I tried.
Back to the above question, here is why.
After finishing up part of my political science degree, I decided to give up my sport dream of the Olympics and chase a career. After that, I had no idea what to do. I did however have a talent for math.
After a short, random, God inspired talk with a woman in Starbucks one day, I learned about Actuarial Science. Ironically, the lady I met was an actuary studying for exams.
After googling how much money they make and how difficult it is to become one, I was sold. I was determined to become an actuary.
Little tid-bit about me, I love a challenge. Life is not entertaining if your not sure if your going to sink are swim every moment. I live by the sweat of my brow and late 3 am nights just because, why not?
At this point in the story, you could be curious of:
Was it worth it to become an Actuary?
Either that or your bored to tears and probably should go to bed and get off the internet.
Anyways, the short answer is yes. here is why.
In the process of becoming an actuary, I learned a few traits that I basically ignored my entire life. One of those traits was studying long-term for something.
In high school and yes, even in college, I never had to study. I was cool with the B or C grade and let me go. I knew what my mission was, and a letter grade really did not matter to me.
Due to that, I never learned that desperately needed skill to become an actuary, studying.
Therefore, the challenge was already entertaining to me. On top of that, there was also a plethora of other people that I would consider as smarter than myself that had tried to become an actuary and failed. I even learned that the previous salutatorian of my high school had tried and failed to become an actuary.
You can guess what happened after I learned that. I became an actuary for _____ and giggles.
Overcoming Career Challenges
If you’ve read this far, I am sorry for the lack of sleep you will probably get tonight, but thank you. If there was one thing I learned that I could pass on from my process (unfinished process) is:
You mustn’t quit.
Failure is inevitable, and apart of the process. There will be many many days of frustration and doubting, but you mustn’t quit. Failure is only the beginning of success. It’s apart of the process of becoming the person you ultimately know you can become. Even if no one else around you can see it.
As long as you can visualize it, you can achieve it. Now, go to bed and get up tomorrow to attack the day. Success is just around the corner… after sleep.