The Age-Old Question

Written by Shaun Brady: Shaun-B-2

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is one of the cliché questions almost every parent or grown up asks a child, only to get a kick out of what their kid is going to say. Well, I can assure you that no one under the age of 13 has ever answered that with “actuary”. Why can I assume this? Well it’s obvious, because even most adults don’t even know what an actuary is!

When I started college I was an economics major only. I had extensive knowledge of mathematics in high school, but I found myself taking he easy route in college. Then after taking a few extra math classes a kid sitting next to me in a probability class asked what classes I have taken and I told him math this math that, and math blah blah blah. Well at the end of the conversation, he told me I had already taken half the classes needed to graduate with an actuarial degree and I didn’t even know it.

I was excited and I didn’t even know what an actuarial degree meant! So the first thing I did was google it and I learned what an actuary does. The next thing I did was look up the salary range. YIKES! I grew up in a low-income family and to see this type of salary being possible from just passing mathematics exams was enough to get me motivated. It may seem like a terrible reason to choose a profession, but everyone has their own values and life is what you make of it. Personally, I had worked many jobs, even paid to do hobbies I like, and I still could not seem to find the happiness of people who say “I love my job”. So why not give it a try? I mean lets be honest, even most college graduates don’t even know what they want to be after spending all those years in school learning a specific topic.

After 3 exams I obtained my first actuarial position. This was the perfect opportunity for me to see if this is something I would actually like. After about 6 months I knew for a fact that becoming an actuary is something I wanted to do. I received a lot of respect from people who knew what my career path was, and I also received a lot of respect from my employers. I was compensated for the exams I took and given time to study for future exams.

This field requires intelligence and problem solving capabilities that most careers don’t require. In my mind to truly be happy with your job, you need to be challenged and when challenged, rewarded for your hard work. From that, I can safely answer the question my parents use to ask me oh-so-long ago with “I want to be an actuary!