Posted on

Ross Morton Writes (with apologies to Paul Harvey)

We tried so hard to make things better for our new employees that we made them worse. For my reports’ reports, I’d like better. I’d really like for them to know about hand-cranked calculators, white shirts and ties, make shift calculations on paper and leaving some margins for future staff. I really would.

I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you appreciate honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to clean up your own desk and finish everything on time and proactively supply the answer not the question. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new computer whenever you whine about megahertz slowing your productivity.

It will be good if at least one time you can see products make money and make tough decisions to cancel a dead end treaty. I hope you get embarrassed fighting for something you believe in.

I hope you have to share a room when traveling on business with your younger staff. And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he/she wants to hear your heart felt feelings on his career and your outlook on insurance free of corporate babble I hope you let him/her.

When you want to make a closing pitch to a customer and your inexperienced staff wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let him/her once in a while. Share the glory and the defeats.

I hope you have to take a train or bus to an insurer in a winter blizzard and that you work in a company that appreciates the dedication. On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as eerie as an actuary or underwriter.

If you want an example of ethics, I hope your boss teaches you by example how to be ethical instead of buying a course for you to take. I hope you learn to dig in the dusty history for guidance and read books on a myriad of subjects. I hope being forthright takes precedence over subterfuge. When you rely so heavily on computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head and understand the present value of money.

I hope your peers tease you when you have your first notoriety of success, and when you talk back to your boss that you learn that frank debate can build a stronger company.

I hope, at whatever age you are, you forget the packaging and let who you are inside see whom she/he is inside. Remember that some of the most precious idiosyncrasies we hold so dear are brick walls our peers cannot get through. Make your own decisions and hide not behind the safety of the committee.

May you make mistakes both big and small but have the courage to admit them and move on, never duplicating the error again. I don’t care if you try a beer once, but not at the desk. And if a peer offers you dope or a joint to break the mundane cycle at work, I hope you realize he is neither your friend nor a friend of the company.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your senior cohorts from work and go fishing with your boss. May you feel sorrow at a failing insurer or reinsurer and joy during the growth of our industry. I hope your boss punishes you when you show arrogance and disdain for a customer and that he/she publicly praises you at your successes and diligence for service.

These things I truly hope fall in your path – tough times and disappointment, hard work and personal and company success. To me, it is the measure of life and the significance of our work, be it ever so humble at times.