Grammar isn’t everything. But it’s something.

Now that I’m committing to a blog revival, I’m going more in depth.  I don’t want to just drop the “I’m not happy at work” bomb and leave it at that. So what is making me unhappy?  I’ll start by saying my favorite part about work is meeting all the people and having conversations with them, and getting involved with the community.  I’m now the member of three chambers of commerce in the Hudson Valley, and I’ve been asked to join the board of directors of a handful of organizations, and I’m getting to know some of the local movers and shakers.  I’m becoming a participant, not just an observer.  My least favorite part is actually selling people insurance.  I like getting people insured when people have an obvious need, and I love being able converse fluently about the financial products (term insurance is convertible to whole in the first 10 years before age 65!), especially when I remember I didn’t know anything about them just a few months ago.  And in those months, I’ve made some great deals which I truly believe benefited both parties.  However, I’m just not great at trying to get people to want insurance when they don’t come to me wanting it.  And that’s where my struggle is, I don’t have the killer instinct.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized there are quite a few ways to be smart.  In our business, you have to be relationship smart, financially smart, and a good communicator.  I think I’m missing that middle piece.  And the people in my company who are superstars at that middle piece?  There’s a small few of them, and two sent me emails yesterday.  One said, “I’ll definately [sic] call you tomorrow.”  And then he didn’t call me tomorrow.  I know that “definitely” is one of the most misspelled English words, but spell check has been around as long as it takes a whole life policy to pay for itself in dividends!  (10-15 years.)  Do you think I just got that spelling right on the first try?  I did not.  I didn’t even spell “misspelled” correctly.  But I fixed it!  So while I was mad at his proofreading and lack of conviction, I gave him the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe he meant to defiantly call me today, meaning that he defied calling me, because he’s a head honcho and he’s a rebel.  Either way, color me nonplussed.

The other email that I got, the one that made me slam shut my not-Mac computer that I had to buy for work, was an invitation to an event encouraging us all to sell more life insurance this fall.  It’s a two-hour event three hours away.  Joy.  I open the email, and there in huge type, reads:


Really?  Really financial planning genius?  You’re making a high six figure salary organizing finances for millionaires and I’m struggling to get a single mother of two to pay $50 a month to get basic life insurance one policy at a time?  I am so in the wrong job.

But what the hell is the right job, and will I find it any time soon?  For half of my life, I’ve been a part of the work force in some way or another.  In the meantime, I don’t want to stop just because it’s hard, but there are some days that it feels so ridiculously hard to make a sale because I have this fun habit of overthinking everything I do, and that aversion to making people do something they don’t want to do.  But I have all this new knowledge!  And health insurance!  And some great clients!  Anyone know a good guidance counselor?


17 responses to this post.

  1. I’m just excited that you have come as far as you have in the past year. Have you looked back and recognized your accomplishments? Amazing.

    I was thinking about this driving to work yesterday, about poorly spelled words. In 6th grade we had to take a test on the most commonly misspelled words. “Definitely” and “a lot” were in there. We had to keep taking it until we got a perfect score. And you are correct, with spell check there is no reason to have such errors. Even browsers have spell check now so at least you can spell the word correctly even if the grammar may be off. I always get its and it’s confused. “It’s” is “It is” but I confuse it with possession.

    I admit I think through it’s and its when they come up. Stupid exception to the rule.

  2. Things like this make me go running back to the career center at my alma mater and cry to them that I hate where all my tuition money has taken me and they need to help me. I’ve done it a few times and they always help. Not sure if that will help at all since you didn’t go to school locally, but it’s an idea.

    Maybe you should become some kind of an editor. Maybe you should read all those financial documents and edit them for money. How is that?

    Good idea! I’ll include it in the mass brainstorm.

  3. What’s the problem? You ARE invitation. That’s all he’s trying to tell you. I’ve always thought of you as being invitation. Wait…That’s not actually an adjective, is it? Forget I mentioned it.

    I’ve all but given up on trying to correct grammatical spelling errors at work, ever since my boss refused to remove an apostrophe from a possessive “its”, saying “That’s stupid and I’m not going to do it.”

    yeah, it’s stupid, but it’s the rule! It’s funny how I feel more passionately about rules of language than I do rules of law.

  4. The people at my office are CRAZY about grammar. I sent my boss an informal e-mail with a typo once (I think it was “at he” instead of “at the” or something like that), and he printed it out and gave it back to me, marked with red pen. I am not kidding. I think I would prefer the “You’re Invitation” kind of workplace, though that would drive me crazy too.

    OK, well that’s annoying unless it’s the plot of “Secretary.”

  5. People in my school sent out emails with typos all the time. It made me crazy, but I think the comic sans font was worse.

    I have a soft spot for Comic Sans, since I thought it was so cool back in the 90’s. But I also pegged my jeans at that time.

  6. Have you thought about becoming a copy editor? I am constantly annoyed by poor grammar, spelling and punctuation, but being able to correct those things gives me feelings of immense pleasure.

    Or maybe something in law? I used to work for an insurance defense firm, so I know your insurance background would fit well into another arena. Plus attorneys tend to want their briefs and other documents to be grammatically correct … it’s DEFINITELY important in their line of work. 🙂

  7. Gaaaah! My last job the marketing department (of a massive, major healthcare company) would send out letters and promotions and such with horrible grammar; the kind that would make an English teacher blush and an 8th grade bibliophile guffaw.


  8. Ugh, I hate getting e-mails with poor grammar, especially from my bosses, and especially when those bosses are EDITORS. It’s their JOB to have good grammar. Your bosses need a copy editor! Maybe you!

    For what it’s worth, I hear career counselors can be helpful in finding “the right job,” whatever that is. I’ve not been to one myself, but I know a few other people who have, and they said it’s been helpful.

  9. Posted by Jennifer M. on August 12, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Speaking of guidance counselors, you could be like that woman who is suing her alma mater because she has not found a job 6 months after graduation – if you get it publicized it may help you attract more clients and then you will meet that goal of selling more insurance in the fall!

    I don’t want to be the grammar police, but sometimes I see stupid typos and I want to slap someone silly. Our work email has a setting that runs spell check before it sends and email. Enable this function people! And if you are in America and you are an American, stop using the British spelling! I’m all for embracing our multicultural world, but until you touch down at Heathrow, use the z not the s and stop adding the u after the o!

  10. copy editing can be great work, if you can get it for decent pay (and/or benefits)!

  11. the you’re/your things drives me batty!
    check this out for a giggle:

  12. you don’t happen to work for a four lettered insurance company (two of the letters being the state) do you?

    i have a life insurance policy through them (originally purchased by parents) and i have no idea what to do with it.

    (you can twitter me yay or nay)

  13. I know I couldn’t sell. For the reason you said, I don’t think I can convince someone that they need something that they don’t think they need.

    I wonder how some people have jobs. Like the people on my condo board who take 3 months to respond to emails. They must have jobs, right? Because they bought a condo. How do they not know that responding to emails is part of the gig? And that is is RUDE not to respond to someone’s questions?

  14. *cringe* No spelchek in comints. I’m askeared now.

    (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  15. Seriously? I’m proud of your accomplishments Noelle. Years ago, I had an opportunity to take the Series 6 and/or 7 tests at the cost of my employer (do they still require them?) and didn’t. I wish that I had.

  16. OK, I have no life advice for you, but this line was the best thing I’ve read all week: “Maybe he meant to defiantly call me today, meaning that he defied calling me, because he’s a head honcho and he’s a rebel. Either way, color me nonplussed.”

    Oh, Noelle. I’m glad you’re back. 🙂

  17. I’m glad you missed a defiant call. It wouldn’t have been fun to talk to someone in that kind of mood. 🙂

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