There Is No Insurance for Happiness. I had interviewed for my first job with the CIA while actively serving in the Marine Corps. I was able to step into my federal job immediately upon my discharge from service. That first job with the CIA, as a records control clerk, offered no room for promotion. Within a year, I knew I had to find something else. I should have been smarter and looked around the Agency for other opportunities, but the lack of a college degree or critical job skill severely limited my choices. Also, in 1967, no one at NPIC could be promoted beyond the pay grade of GS-11 without a degree. I knew people who were working full time and going to night school for their bachelor’s degree. I couldn’t see myself making that five-to-seven- year effort. I had long commutes, no money, and I never equated a degree with success. While at NPIC, I met someone at a party who seemed to have the solution to my financial and educational dilemmas. He explained how I could earn as much money as I needed and work the hours I wanted. I didn’t hesitate. I became an insurance agent for one of the top three companies in the country. Six months later, with my name at the top of the office manager’s black board for most sales in the Arlington office, I quit. I had just spent six months at a job I learned to loathe. The day before my unexpected resignation, I had sat down with a Arlington police officer and his wife; discussing an educational life insurance policy for their new-born son. They wanted to make sure their son would have the funds for a college education. This couple had called me for the appointment, and both my manager and I new that all I had to do was lay out the benefits of a whole-life policy and they would have signed the dotted line. I would have made a fat commission, the company would have been happy, and the police officer would have seen less cash in the family cookie jar. I was sitting at a very small kitchen table, pushed up against a wall, in the hallway of a cramped apartment in Arlington, Virginia. The police officer and his wife were also taking care of his invalid mother who occupied one of their two small bedrooms. I looked the husband and wife in the eyes and asked how often they served meat with their dinners. I assured them that I wasn’t trying to be insulting. I just wanted to get a better idea of their budget. When they hesitated to answer, I looked at the newly married couple who were barely making ends meet in an apartment with hand-me-down furniture and no luxuries, whatsoever. “You have plenty of time to plan for your son’s education. Wait a few years until you have a couple promotions under your belt and a more stabilized situation with your household,” I said. I finished by saying,“When you can put steak on the dinner table without worrying about your budget, give me a call.”  They looked at each other and then turned to me with a big sigh of relief. I don’t think they really knew how they would have been able to afford the insurance policy they thought they needed. I shook their hands, wished them a happy and prosperous life, and turned to leave. As I walked towards the front door, I looked over at the baby sleeping in grandmother’s arms. “He looks pretty smart to me,” I quipped. “I have a feeling he’s going to win a college scholarship and you won’t have to worry about a thing.” My manager was furious. I let a slam-dunk sale slip through my fingers. He reiterated the company philosophy -- there was no such thing as selling an inappropriate or “bad” insurance policy. Any insurance policy was always better than no policy. I’ve been told by several people that I would have made a great salesman. Maybe that is true, but only if I believe in what I am selling. I was tired of lying to people to make a living. I would have rather slopped hogs. Little did I know.
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