Thursday, September 01, 2005

Making the transition

What else could have me up at 3:30 am other than more tossing and turning over work? Well, other than my daughter tossing and turning, that is.

Two weeks ago, the last time I blogged about work, I was all set that large loss was the way I was going to go. Funny how things can change in the blink of an eye...or, in my case, the eye of a hurricane.

Not that I didn't know this, but Katrina has shown me just how unfortunate that travel can be. Large loss is going to New Orleans in some capacity...just what capacity that is at this point in time is unknown. When I talked to my mentor E on Monday, he was estimating that he'd be gone for one to two weeks, although I personally feel that one to two weeks is a conservative estimate on his part. All the storm people I've talked to lately are estimating that they'll be gone for several months. Everyone is in agreement that there is going to be enough work between Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama to keep adjusters busy for YEARS.

This is the same doubts that came up when I was in California in late 2003 when the wildfires were going on outside Los's the same thing. This is the worst case scenario that could happen with being on the large loss team, and unfortunately, any time there is any kind of natural disaster in this country in an area where my company sells insurance policies, I'm going to have to go for an indefinite period of time.

Not such a great reminder for someone that's about to be a mommy.

Several weeks ago, our office manager B (the one that wants me to be a supervisor) invited me down to Austin for this leadership development seminar over two days where basically they have a chance to court us to be managers. Initially, I agreed because I thought it would be a fun trip and a chance to get off fires for two days. So I drove down on Tuesday with the other fire adjuster in our office and both M and I were pretty decided that we were NOT going to do this.

But they are good salesmen. VERY good salesmen. And since M has been on large loss before, he was able to give me an excellent perspective from someone who didn't like it OR the travel.

Here are the pros to going into management:

-opportunity for major advancement
-potential to make a much bigger salary than I'm making now, even if it doesn't happen right at first
-a solid 8-5 schedule Monday through Friday
-cash bonus to compensate me for losing my company car (which is non-negotiable, by the way)
-a chance to teach other adjusters, share my knowledge and learn a new job

The cons:

-initially, not much more money although it would be a significant raise and the top of the salary range is high
-I would lose my company car
-I'd have to report to an office every day
-no eligibility for overtime

I thought about it the entire time I was in Austin, and initially I wasn't tempted until I was driving home and had a chance to really sit quietly and think about it. I think what really got my attention (other than Katrina) was our zone manager asking us where we saw ourselves in three years, five years, and ten years. Three years from now, I can still see myself being an adjuster. Five, ten years? No chance. I have to think about more than just me now...and I don't want to be planning my daughter's first or second birthday party and then all of a sudden the night before the party be called to a fire in Oklahoma. Nor do I want to be in the field in Louisiana working a hurricane in five years and get a call from my daughter's kindergarten teacher that she's not feeling well and wants Mommy to come get her, and I can't because I can't get a flight out.

Even though I'm not a mom yet, it's amazing how things do change when you are a parent or at least, about to be one.

So, I am making a decision for myself, my family and my future...and I'm going to take the plunge and go into management. I've been a claims adjuster for nine years, and for at least six of those years, my managers above me have been trying to persuade me to become a supervisor. I never gave it any serious thought until now, but I think it's time to start climbing that corporate ladder so to speak and just do it, even though I'm terrified. This is a whole new ballgame for me. It's going to be a very hard transition to learn to manage others and to let others dictate my results. I'm going to be learning a lot more about myself and my talents in this journey.

I just hope I'm ready. I'm going to call our manager B in a few hours and tell him that I've changed my mind (a decision that I know he's going to be both shocked and pleased about) and that I'm ready to start pursuing that career path. There is a supervisor position open in our office right now but whether or not he would actually hold that position open for me remains to be seen. I kind of doubt it, but it would probably take longer for them to find a candidate and go through the hiring process than it would take for me to have my baby, be out on maternity leave and go through the training process.

Of course, the biggest downfall to ALL of this is losing the freedom to work from home. I hate that part. I've worked from home now for four years, and I've absolutely loved every minute of it. And there's no saying that they wouldn't make my position eventually one that is virtual. I even asked B today during the seminar and he said that while it's unlikely, it's not impossible. I know this...I can always work from home if my daughter gets sick or if there's a snow day, and that's valuable too. And I always knew once we had another child or two, I'd lose my office anyway.

I will really miss my company car too. I love that Magnum. But we still have our own two cars, and my office is only eleven miles away, so it's not the end of the world there either.

Bottom line, I want to stay with my company. It's a good one and I've often said that I can see myself retiring with them. I don't want to leave, and I don't want to continue in my present position. Something has to change, and I guess this is it!

So, wish me luck on this new journey. It's going to be very hard, and I'm sure that I'm going to have many days where I wish that I hadn't done it, but if I get into it and I really decide that it's not for me, I can always transition to large loss at that point. It'll be there waiting for me. All of my managers are so convinced that I have the leadership qualities that being a manager requires. The thought of managing another employee, let alone six or seven, really makes my stomach turn, I'll be honest, but I guess this like everything else is just part of growing up. I'll never know if I would succeed at it if I don't give it a try.

And P said it many times tonight...he'd rather have me working 8-5 eleven miles away from home rather than working a random schedule over seven states. He's totally on board with it and is so happy that I've decided to go this way instead of the large loss route, even though he would have supported my decision to go that way too. But it helps to have your spouse totally on board with it all.

And I have so much that I can give to new adjusters starting out in life. I've always loved teaching, mentoring and coaching, and that is one of the parts that I am the most excited about with doing this.

On other news...P's mom is still doing the same. In fact, she's doing a little better. P was over there tonight and said that she was more responsive tonight and was able to talk a little, so I know that was a comfort. They apparently are going to try some homeopathic remedies in the hopes that it might prolong her stay with us, so I'll keep you posted.

Pregnancy is still going fine, but I did have a moment (a few actually) of panic last night when I was in Austin and had FOUR contractions. I timed them, and they weren't close enough or frequent enough to be alarmed about. I'm pretty sure they were just Braxton-Hicks contractions. It was very strange though...I had always wondered if I would know when I had one, and now I don't have to wonder anymore. You definitely can't mistake the feeling!

No change on the house really since I've been out of town. P mounted our fire extinguisher tonight on the wall and put up a few of the trim pieces last night when I was out of town in the kitchen, and they look good. We're going to work some more on it this weekend.

I guess my Sleepytime herbal tea is kicking in, so I'm going to attempt to go back to sleep and get some shut-eye now that I've cleared my thoughts. I have two inspections today to do on houses in the area, and that will make for a busy day!


Blogger Sharon said...

Yep, there's no mistaking contractions. Congrats on coming to such a huge and life-altering decision. I'm sure things will go great for you. I know it's tough to make such a big decision, but it sounds like you've thought it through, and talked it through with people who you respect, and I can't think of a better way to make such a challenging decision. I will watch in the years to come with interest whether you feel you've made the right one or not. For what it's worth, I think you have. Congrats!

4:58 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

MOtherhood is a wacky thing. I never thought I would be a SaHM. Two graduate degrees, the ability to teach three subjects, etc. I haad it made to blindly choose a different career or two and have a lovely life doing so. When Bear was born, I assumed I would take off an extended period (6 mos - 1 year) and then resume working.

But then she was too small for daycare, and had "something" wrong with her. Then all the endless psychologist appointments, etc. And boom! I'm a SaHM of an autistic child. WTF?! How in the world did that happen?

Just goes to show you - you never know where parenthood will kead you to.

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Dana said...

Good luck on your decision to climb the corporate ladder. I think you would be a great supervisor. I know that not being able to work at home will be difficult, but I think that traveling would be very hard on you as a new mother. I have the same issues. Where do I see myself in 5 to 10 years. I don't want to still be a lowly HR administrator. So, we'll have to see what happens.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Suz said...

Congrats on your decision!

12:27 PM  
Anonymous shondratasha said...

Congrats on choosing a path. I can definitely see the cons on the large loss cases. And just think, as a supervisor it's not just the people with claims that hate you, it's everyone...(just kidding).

10:31 PM  

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