In another post I mentioned how to turn your "job" into a "career". This is an open letter that I had available at my retirement party May 23, 1996. After spending 37 years with State Farm, I related to everyone what I did that made my "job" a "career". Perhaps some of this can be used in the profession that you have chosen to pursue.
March 3, 1958 -- a day that seems like such a short time ago and yet at times so long ago! Probably a date before many of you were born. Or perhaps you were in grade school then.
You see, that is the day that I walked up to 1727 West 17th Street, Santa Ana and began a job -- not a career -- just a job. It was to pay my bills for a while and there was no thought that this would be the company that I'd receive a retirement check in the future. But days kept following days, months and years kept piling up until we have reached 1996. Where has all that time gone?
When I start reviewing my "career" year by year, it becomes clear to me that the years indeed have flown by. One committee after another. One special project or event after another. They are all there to remind me that it has been a busy work life and a fulfilling one at that. State Farm gave me the opportunity to use my skills and abilities and to gain new ones by being offered a special job or project to complete.
In a way, I guess I'm one of the "pioneers" of State Farm. The company was approaching 5 million auto policies in force when I started. Our office, the Southern California Regional Office, was the 12th regional office to be built and was just three years old when I joined it. We were sewing papers to the backs of applications, pulling those apps and x-cards (what are those?) for every piece of correspondence and phone call received because we had no computer retention at that time. What do you do when you can't find the app? Put it on the Hunt List which could get up to 20 pages daily. Took more time to check the hunt that to process the work. We "punched" cards by keypunch machine to enter the policy and rating information into the computer system so that renewal billings and policy records could be printed. Then we had to print the policies on a printing press in each division! I'm not talking about a copy machine -- a printing press!
Ever hear of "Freq Sheets"? Those are claim frequency sheets that were attached to each app to record the loss history. This was hand written by the underwriter after reviewing the actual claim file. If a policy went inactive, the sheets were removed from the app and attached to an alpha inactive card so we would have the information if a reinstatement came later.
So much of our work is automated today that it is hard to relate to the "good old days". Apps are now on film, loss histories are kept on the system, changes to policies require very little input, and everyone has the latest information at their fingertips through their terminal or work station. We wouldn't have believed this would be possible back then. And E-Mail -- that's another story!
On July 1, 1996, I will close out a 37 year career with this company. I have had the opportunity to serve the employees in a number of committees over the years. Some of the time it was just a part of the committee and other times I was appointed to lead the committee. I served the Activities Committee as Treasurer, Retirement Chairman, and President. I was involved in the Anniversary Party Committees many years and was Co-Chairperson for the 1980 party which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Southern California Region. I was appointed the Pilot Team Supervisor to develop the first team for our region and prepare the office for the conversion upon the teams success. The Editorial Board, Credit Union Committees, Agent's University, RAMAC Zone Team, Mesa Clerical Workshop Day -- all were a part of my work life. The State Value Committee was formed and I served as Chairman for the two years it assisted the divisions. The Class Plan CP95 Team prepared us for this new ratings system which took most of my time in 1995 as Team Leader.
Why am I listing these? It's not to heap any recognition on me but to let you know what changes a "job" into a "career". It isn't time. It's involvement! It's in giving of your time to make a difference. The more you do, the more opportunities you will have to contribute. Don't just let "George do it" but volunteer yourself.
There are many changes on the horizon. Many opportunities for involvement. Now it is your turn to make a difference. We pioneers brought State Farm to it's present position of leadership and it is your turn to take it even further. Find a place to serve and do it to the best of your abilities. You will enjoy your work more, make new friends, show management that you are capable of more challenging projects, and believe me, the time will fly by faster than you expect it to.
Keep State Farm strong. Keep the retirement plan strong. Most important -- keep taking care of the policyholders who keep us in business.
Thank you for being a part of my life.
Dick Moore, Auto Operations Supervisor
UPDATE: Reviewing this I can see many other changes that have taken place. The building that I had my retirement party is now gone. It stood near the 405 Freeway and Harbor Blvd and was replaced by many Design Center buildings. The operations moved to Bakersfield with some claim functions still in rented facilities in Irvine. They no longer use film as everything is stored digitally in the computer systems. E-mail is a major part of every one's day now. But opportunities still exist! The Pilot Team project started as a So Cal study and expanded into the entire company. Very successful project!