Octogenarian # 4
In 1951 I joined New York Life Insurance Company as an agent. Life Insurance agents work as sole proprietors for commissions only. For the first time, I was without a salary, entirely dependent on my own talents for income. I had to find my own prospects, develop my own sales techniques, decide for myself how many hours I had to work each day. It was frightening. I started early and worked late, gradually improving my sales abilities, until after 3 years I started qualifying for NYLIC clubs and meeting other ambitious agents such as myself. We exchanged ideas at meetings and met the top producers in the company who were free with their ideas and experiences. Shortly thereafter a group of us formed a study group. 7 young men, all determined to grow and learn in their business. We studied insurance law, estate tax law and planning and gradually, competitively leaning on each other, we became experts in our fields.
All 7 of us were outgoing, positive thinking, knowledge hungry, success hunting young men. We did not tolerate failure, we did not tolerate negativity, we gloried in creativity and we worked hard, it was fun and exciting. We challenged each other and reinforced each other, for years and years. We ran our own offices, hired and payed for our own employees, paid our own taxes, did everything. Entirely self sufficient.