Back to school time means many things: catching up with old friends, endless nights spent in the library, endless parties. The list goes on. For me, however, returning to Georgetown means that for at least nine months I no longer have to say those few dreaded words: “Thank you for calling Premier Insurance, how can I direct your call?” Instead of whiling away those lazy summer days by the pool or ensconced in a good book, I spent this summer, as I have for the past two years, working for an insurance company. What was first a new and exciting opportunity has now become an exercise in testing my gag reflex. Besides showing the staff that I’m no longer the wide-eyed college freshman that started but a smart-mouthed and sarcastic kid who sees no use in mincing words and sparing feelings, I’ve also become thoroughly jaded with the insurance industry at large. However, I have been able to glean a few important lessons from my days stripping files and dealing with irate customers.

I discovered something this summer that had been practically screaming at me the past three summers but never fully revealed itself until now. I learned this summer to always get mad at the right people. In other words, get mad at the people that deserve your wrath and leave everyone else alone. If I had a nickel for every time I had to deal with someone who was angry at someone else and who was taking it out on me, well let’s just say I’d have opened my last piece of mail. I am sick of being forced into being the proverbial whipping boy for every claim rep, insured customer and their brother. Don’t get mad at me, I’m not the one who hit you. Don’t get mad at me, I’m not the claim rep who hasn’t returned any of your calls. And another thing, why do people get so mad at another person’s insurance company? It’s not the other person’s mother or anything. The company is not to blame for its customers’ stupidity. I can guarantee that it’s just as angry at its insured for being a bonehead behind the wheel as you are. From these frantic ravings I was able to realize that anger should be given where it’s due, not to an innocent bystander who has nothing to do with the situation. I’ll try to remember that the next time a telemarketer, who after all is only trying to earn a living like the rest of us, disturbs my day in order to sell me magazines or a credit card (emphasis on try).

Now my job at Premier Insurance was not as glamorous as I make it seem, even though getting my pick of complimentary office supplies was pretty sweet. Despite the fact that I have ever so slightly risen through the ranks in the past two years, I am occasionally brought down to earth and realize, yet again, that I am on the bottom rung on the totem pole of insurance. A complete list of these events is not necessary, among them having to endure the sting of being introduced as “just summer help,” but let it suffice to say that this perpetual process of putting me in my place has given me a greater sense of humility, understanding and gratitude; gratitude, that is, for knowing that my Georgetown education should ensure that I never have to do this again. The bottom of the barrel can be a dark and lonely place but it teaches you to appreciate what you have and, one day, thank your lucky stars that you are no longer “just summer help.”

Now although what was promised as “a few important lessons” has turned into only two, I hope that something useful and amusing can be obtained from this tirade. Oh, and one last thing: I hate insurance.

Geoffrey Pickering is a junior in the College.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.