An amusing aside, and possibly some useful advice to some of you.
I had lunch yesterday with a partner in a professional services firm who will remain nameless. He loves his job and has built a tremendous career. He also noted that his industry is highly competitive and thus, even the most successful people are undercompensated relative to those in some other fields. Recently, he said, he had given some advice to his children. He told them that if they want to do well financially, they should go into the insurance industry.
I was a bit astonished by this, because I've never thought of the insurance industry as the place to get rich in the financial services industry. However, this executive explained to me that he had a number of major insurance companies as clients or former clients. "The hallways clear like a gun has gone off at 5 p.m.," he said. "For awhile I thought some of them were pursuing careers as professional golfers. These are the dumbest and most obstinate people I have ever dealt with in the business world. But the senior people are paid outrageously. My kids are really smart. I told them there is practically no competition for really smart people in the insurance industry, and if they go to work there, they could get rich."
I thought these observations were hilarious although, in fairness, I know quite a few really smart people in the insurance industry. On the other hand, the industry itself constantly bewails its own dearth of talent. It has been very hard to recruit top college graduates into insurance given the competition from Wall Street and other parts of the financial services industry. You could say that jobs in the insurance industry are the cigar butts of the employment world -- dollar bills selling for fifty cents.