I worked 9 years as an ERISA attorney working for third party administration (TPA) firms and that was an excellent start to my career because I really learned the nuts and bolts of plan administration. There are books about ERISA and qualified plan that are great, but there is no substitute for on the job training because there are answers to plan questions and issues you’ll never find in books.
After 9 years working for TPA firms, I worked about three years for two different law firms with the hopes of becoming a law firm partner. I learned the hard way that I wasn’t cut out to be a law firm associate and I’d never make partner unless I started my own firm.
I met an old friend who was one of the best client relationship managers I ever met because he had great interactions with plan sponsors and their decision makers. One day, he tried sales and after a couple of years, he realized it wasn’t for him. It takes a good man and a good woman to realize when something you’re doing isn’t working out. It was a dream of mine to be a major league baseball player, but when I batted .000 when I was 11, I kind of knew that wasn’t the path for me.
When you are a crossroads in your career like I’ve been, remember to take stock and realize what’s working with you and what’s not.