Wasted Talent

I’ve been working a lot of extra shifts at Target lately. I don’t really mind. In fact, I like when I work more. My parents, however, don’t like that I work at Target. They think that work takes time away from studying (though honestly, I study less on my days off).

My dad never wanted me to work at Target. When I said I wanted a job during the holidays, he wanted me to work at a bank as a teller or some other financially related job applicable to being an actuary.

My mom knows that this job is temporary and good for “pocket money,” but she doesn’t like the fact that it’s physical labor and doesn’t use my brain. Besides that, she said it’s a disgrace that I have a master’s degree and make the low wage I’m getting.

My parents also don’t like the idea of me being an executive team leader (ETL) at Target. There are two reasons. First, the growth potential (professionally and financially) from the actuary path far exceeds that of the ETL path. Because there are nine actuarial exams, and a promotion from each one, the growth is built into the field. Meanwhile, the highest position at Target is (probably) the store team leader, which isn’t that different from being an ordinary executive.

The other reason is that being an ETL doesn’t require a master’s degree in math. Apparently, getting a master’s degree means I’m supposed to use my specialty in my future career. Being an ETL would be “wasting my talents.”

I’m not sure what to do or think. Am I going to decline the ETL path because my parents don’t like it? Am I only choosing the actuary path because my parents prefer it? I know that my parents can’t rule my life. I have to do what ultimately makes me happy, but I can’t ignore what my parents think either.

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Posted in Family, Job, Life. Tags: , . 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Wasted Talent”

  1. Amy Says:

    Ok: Here’s my two cents. It’s your life, not your parents’, so the decision is yours. You are not “wasting your talent”, you are “wasting your qualifications”. BIG difference. I think you’d be a great manager.. you have wonderful people skills. Now, I think the average person changes careers around 6 times in their lifetime. So, deciding to be an ETL now does not mean you’ll be one in 20 years. More money is great, but it can’t make you stop hating a job you’re not suited for. Make the choice that makes you happy! Or come back up to Canada, and stay on my couch.

  2. Lisa S. Says:

    Something to keep in mind, and I don’t mean this to dissuade you, but passing an exam does not mean promotions, as an automatic thing. Passing exams qualifies you for promotions.

    The actuarial path is risky too. You’re sort of banking on the assumption that you will, indeed, keep passing exams. There are lots and lots of people that drop out of that pursuit, and not because they want to. Well, lots of people want to, to be sure. But many people have no choice but to give up because they simply have hit their personal wall, exam-wise.

    That isn’t to say if you go the actuarial route and can’t get past, say, exam 4, (or however they label the exams now, it seems to change on a near-constant basis), that you’ll have wasted your time. There are lots of ways to go even if you’re not going for every SOA exam. I’m certainly not the most qualified to advise you of the options; I am, after all, merely a spectator on my husband’s career. But he has many colleagues who, while they are no longer pursuing their ASA or FSA and have stopped taking those exams, are still successful in their roles and doing worthwhile and fulfilling work. And those years of experience you get prepare you well for many other career paths.

  3. Lisa S. Says:

    Oh, and you want to hear something funny? My in-laws wanted my husband to be a doctor, so when he decided to get two degrees in math and become an actuary they saw it as “not living up to his potential” — probably mostly because they had no idea what an actuary was. They are much more OK with it now. 🙂


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