Sunday, August 31, 2008

What I Do, Not Who I Am

I'm surprised when people I've known for awhile ask me what I do for work. It used to be that I didn't really know anyone who didn't know what I did. I was a High School Choir Director for 5 years and a Music Pastor for 10 years. Having come from a Christian University and a Christian High School before that I was pretty well in a bubble. I feel into the trap of "what I did is who I was."
There were great times during those 10 years. There were also many personal challenges that I failed to meet successfully. In 1999 I left church ministry and searched for work in the "real" world. After painting our rental house I knew I wasn't pursing painting or construction or any career with ladders, buckets, brushes or hammers.
So I spent 2 weeks of paid training at Rose Hills Memorial Park, the largest cemetery in S. Cal. I spent weeks making phone calls to unsuspecting people asking if they would like to purchase cemetery property. I even spent weeks stuffing envelopes.
That part of the funeral business was killing me so I transitioned to a company that sold and distributed window screen material and screen doors to installers. I loaded a truck each morning, drove all over 4 counties in S. Cal. selling all the parts and pieces that are keeping the bugs out of your house when your windows are open. When my employer closed his business he hooked me up with one of the largest S. Cal. manufacturers to do sales for them. I was able to get out of the truck and into a car doing sales. For 4 more years I sold things I really didn't care about and didn't know how to install. I would get pages on my pager (remember those) that said 9-1-1. An emergency over a screen door just didn't compute for me.
So how does a Choir Director's resume translate to a "real" world job when you don't want to teach school? Not a whole lot of opportunity.
I have found a career that I really do like. I moved to Oregon in 2005 and became licensed to sell Home and Auto Insurance. In the Insurance field I found I could use many of my ministry skills in listening to people, understanding their needs and helping them with things that they truly need. While I am still selling what seems like a commodity in theses times, it is something that people truly need, that helps them, that they need to be advised on and need someone they can trust and rely on to serve them.
While I am excited to see an increase in business each year I continue, it has been a slower start than I anticipated. I do enjoy the work and enjoy meeting people for every walk of life. I also like the fact that Insurance is only what I do, it's not who I am.
That said, I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about me. If I can serve you by reviewing your current insurance coverage and seeing if I can be sure your assets are adequately covered and possibly save you money, I would love to talk to you. Call me at 503.692.4595 x16.


Tyler said...

well said don. i do actually think that "church ministry skills" translate very well into the business world. many executive pastors could easily excel in the business world. i know plenty of pastors who have succeeded in business as well after many years in ministry. glad to see you are enjoying it.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!