You Never Know
From Aviation to the Affordable Care Act
The other day one of my coworkers stopped by my office and wanted to know the possibility of me creating a visual guide to the ACA’s measurement period rules. Something more than the infographic we had already put together; one that could be customized to each of our client’s unique situations. We started brainstorming and decided “yes” that would be useful. The next question was, of course, how? The answer is: we’re working on it. But that’s the point of this post.
You never know when a skill may become useful. If you’re just getting started in your career – listen up! Be willing to learn different things, even if there’s no obvious connection to what you want to do in life. Just take a look at me – I grew up wanting to be a pilot, went to college and earned a degree in Construction Management, transitioned into an IT management position and then ended up being an insurance compliance guru. Pilot to insurance guru? How’d that happen?
In college, I originally intended to join the Air Force via the ROTC program – my eyesight became a hurdle to the whole pilot thing though, and the military was going through its first real downsizing at the time, so that door was closed. My degree in Construction Management did lead to job opportunities, and I learned a whole lot about project management. Didn’t know a thing about insurance though.
When the construction company I worked for went through a tough time, I ended up starting to work for my boss’s friend, who needed someone who knew something about computers and databases, which have been my hobbies since I was a teenager. I also kept my eye on being a pilot, though finances dictated that I settle for computer-based flight simulators, which meant more time tinkering with computers.
Sure enough, I became the IT manager for an insurance broker (frankly, I took the job without knowing how insurance worked!) Now, this was back in the days of DOS, Windows 95, CRTs, etc. Some of you reading this weren’t even born then. Most importantly, this little event known as Y2K happened. Back then, not all computers understood that 01/01/00 meant January 1, 2000, not January 1, 1900. Turns out, we had one system vulnerable to this bug – our FSA processing system. Flexible Spending Accounts may seem simple if you’ve ever participated in one, but the rules that govern them can get complicated. To make sure I knew the software was working, I had to learn those rules. To do that, I had to get started learning government rules and regulations. And now, here I am – insurance compliance guy.
My point: you never know where you might go, and when you might learn skills you need later on. Granted, my aviation knowledge doesn’t have much practical use these days (aside from keeping track of what airports I visit in my travels) but as for IT skills – well, see for yourself at this work in progress:
- Assurance Careers
- Maggie’s Career Path
- 4 Tips for Training Employees to Become Great Managers
- I Don’t Like Millennials
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