Staying Persistent, IA Journey & Pitfalls

by Charles Gunnell

As someone who loves and has been working on cars since the age of 11, I wanted to share my journey of pursuing an independent adjusting career and where I am currently at.

I’ve been at my job working at the railroad for 12 years now, but about 6 years ago, I noticed things were changing for the worse. Every person I talked to was standing on shaky ground when it came to their job. It was in this moment that I realized the complacency that had a hold on me.

A quick Google search had me to looking for auto-related careers where I could be my own boss.  Auto-adjusting appeared in the top 10 besides my other choice of being a stunt car driver. I decided to get started right away and found Adjuster Pro which would allow me to obtain my adjuster license online. It would only take me 80 hours and that got me interested. I got excited thinking I could do this in two weeks’ worth of work! Well, I was wrong, it took me a year and a half (sigh).

During this time, I had a newborn and was working in the morning, and most nights I stayed up until 2 AM. Thoughts to just continue at my current job stayed in the back of my mind but work always seemed to have a way of reminding me that it was a toxic place.

Fast forward and it is now time to take the all lines adjuster licensing test. I failed the test with a score of 60 something. I felt so defeated and it seemed like I was the only person in history to fail the test. I decided to try AGAIN… and failed a second time. My failure not only impacted my time and mentality, but my wallet was also being impacted. I was having to pay $100 every retake. Finally, the third time was the charm and a weight lifted off my shoulders… only for another to be thrown on.

Now it was time to get to work and join the top major IA Firms.  After being placed on the rosters of Renfroe, Pilot etc., it was now time to just wait. Calling them every day to keep updated yielded no results, then one day BAM! Hurricanes were being formed all over the place and there was all this talk of deployment. I successfully got on the standby list of two firms. I was filled with excitement and nervousness.

Another wash of disappointment hit me when I got the message saying no one else is needed and they are sending people home.  I thought, “What the hell am I doing? Maybe I need to be happy with what I have.”

I went back to thinking I needed to do 30 more years in hopes that my years served would protect me.  But then 3 more people got fired for something ridiculously small at work. I had to sit down and have a talk to myself, heart to brain, and that’s when I realized I had to push harder to be free.

I decided to become more marketable by getting my State Farm Auto Certification.  I signed with Eberl and realized I had to pay my own way for flights, the hotel, Uber rides – this was another sad time for my wallet.

During our introductions in class, I received a few crazy looks when people realized I flew to Texas just to do one test.  After completing the test… silence — not a word from any firm. I saw that I couldn’t do this alone and needed help, remembering that I had just talked to Chris Stanley two months prior, it was time to call him again to enroll in his auto adjuster training. I successfully graduated in February of 2019 and I’ll keep you informed of my journey from here.

Sorry if this story is long but I felt I needed to let you know not to give up. There will be times in this journey when it’s hard, then easy, then back hard again. It may even feel like a never-ending cycle, but you can push through it. One day you will make it. Hell, I’m still pushing. Let’s push together.
– Charles Gunnell

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