Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A New Life's resolution - Day #2 (Occupational)

If you're just joining us, check out the explanation of my "New Life Resolution"

Day 2 - Occupational

According to, "The occupational dimension of wellness is involved in preparing for work in which one will gain personal satisfaction and find enrichment in one's life through work. Occupational development is related to one's attitude about one's work.' Traveling a path toward your occupational wellness, you'll contribute your unique gifts, skills and talents to work that is personally meaningful and rewarding. You'll convey your values through your involvement in both paid and unpaid volunteer activities that are gratifying for you. You'll know when you're on the correct path for career wellness, when your work and hobbies become exciting."

I'm not sure if I've ever shared this on here before, but I am an actuary.  After a "career awareness" seminar in high school where an actuary spoke about what she did for a living, I decided that that sounded like a great career for me.  So after graduating from high school, I got a very good degree from Ball State in Actuarial Science.  I've been working as a "student actuary" since then.  I'm a "student" actuary because there are a series of (ever-changing) exams that must be passed in order to be a full-fledged actuary.  Unfortunately, the combination of failing a few exams(not to worry, nearly EVERYONE does at least once PER exam) and taking some time off from studying for a few years has left me a bit behind the curve.  Hence, I am still a "student".  Ugh.

Even though I haven't succeeded as much as I would have liked in my chosen field, I really do enjoy being an actuary.  It fills a need that I have to have a mathematical challenge in my life on a daily basis.  I know that seems like an odd thing to say, but after having just one semester in high school where I didn't take any math classes, I knew I'd go crazy without that kind of daily stimulus.

While the field of Actuarial Science is a competetive one, it's also one of the worst in terms of equality in pay between men and women.  While women have made significant strides in other fields, the average pay for female actuaries is generally around 70% of their male counterparts.  When I read this a few years ago, I decided to do whatever I could to make sure I was paid equally.  A few years ago I took the bull by the horns and, armed with information to back up my claim, I asked for a raise.  Whether that was a foolish or courageous thing to do in a declining economy is left to the each person to judge for themselves.  For me, it was the right thing to do.  As a consequence, I was given the raise I was looking for as well as more opportunities for advancement that had been closed to me up until then.

But I wasn't about to stop there.  Every January, each person on staff at our firm gets our annual performance review and pay raise.  I know this is coming up soon and I want to be prepared.  As part of my Occupational wellness, today I gathered information about my productivity during this last year as well as updating my knowledge of what average salaries in my field are.  Now when my supervisor calls me into his office in a few weeks I'll be prepared to have an educated and honest discussion with him regarding both of our expectations for the upcoming year.  I'm very fortunate to be at a firm where this is not only accepted practice, but welcomed.

So, what is it that you'll do to value yourself and your skills more today?

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin