M'sian City Life #24: Why I Left My Corporate Life To Become A Takaful Agent

"The motivation is not always monetary."

Cover image via Ahmad Helmi Shaharuddin/SAYS

When Ahmad Helmi Shaharuddin tendered his resignation a few years ago, he was almost as clueless as everyone else around him over the decision

He was working as a campaign manager in the marketing division at a corporate company when he made that decision to quit his job.

He had tendered notices of resignation on three different occasions to his direct boss. Despite his persistence, Helmi never really understood what drove him to make the decision to quit his job.

"Nobody can understand why I wanted to quit, not even me," he said.

"I hated my job. The thought of going to the office the next morning drained me emotionally me every single night. It was not because of my boss, my portfolio, salary or even the company itself."

Helmi made a bold decision but people around him were worried as he was going to quit a stable job without any job offers in line

Helmi got cold feet about his plan to resign and adding to that, his boss kept advising him to reconsider his decision and to stay on the job for a few more months.

She feared that Helmi may have made a rash decision as he did not have a new job offer at that time.

"My boss back then was so concerned and confused over this (the decision to resign) that she even thought that it had something to do with the mystical realms."

In the midst of all these internal conflicts, Helmi received a call from a Takaful agent who was pushing for an appointment with the then 30-year-old

"This guy was so persistent and determined, and that had led me to say 'yes' for a meet up with the intention to just to shut him up," Helmi said.

When they met up, Helmi cut the agent short and said that he wasn't ready and couldn't care less about being in the business although he was aware of how lucrative the business could be.

However, in the end, Helmi complied and gave it a chance while he was still being apathetic about it.

"Without even the slightest interest to be an agent, I just signed up for the exams and went for the training sessions like a zombie."

He attended a few classes and tried to understand why people in the industry do what they do.

"Were they the kind of people who can't secure a steady job and the only way to survive is by going with this unpopular choice of career?"

Helmi was curious to find out why people were so willing to enter into a field where they have to face rejections on a daily basis.

"They eat rejections for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Why?"

Helmi realised that these were people who came from different fields of expertise. They were pharmacists, engineers, and former vice presidents of multinational corporations (MNCs).

"There was this one agent who was very popular, and he was a medical doctor," he said.

Clearly, they were not less educated people either.

Helmi was soon convinced there was something different about this journey that he was about to embark on.

One class led to another and there was no turning back. In October 2014, Helmi tendered his resignation and officially left his job a month later.

After spending about seven years in several industries, Helmi felt that it was time for him to do something else. He obtained a license and started a new chapter in life as a Takaful agent.

With little skills and experience, it proved to be a tough task to secure sales. However, he was thankful for the support he received from his agency and colleagues. He felt that he did not only improve as an agent but also as an individual.

"I experienced first-hand the value of time and money. When you misuse any of these important resources, the business will suffer an imminent death," he said.

"I have learned to stay away from listening to naggy and negative people, and instead surround myself with the winners."

Seeing how he benefitted from the kindness of others, Helmi also started to be more caring of new agents and his clients, and often tried to help within his own capacity.

It has been almost two years since the 32-year-old ventured into the Takaful business and he is enjoying every minute of it

Until today, Helmi still attends the classes regularly where agents both new and old and share with each other their struggles and best tips to overcome the challenges in the industry.

Unlike what most people would think, Helmi believes that there is no need to pull others down to climb the career ladder as each of them have their own ladder.

"The motivation is not always monetary. It is about doing the right thing."

"My job enables me to put value in my clients' lives," Helmi explained.

He is satisfied when he is able to help his clients and their loved ones be well prepared for unforeseen mishaps. He strongly believes that while he is entrusted to help his clients make sound financial decisions, he ultimately contributes to the betterment of the quality of life for the people of this country and ummah (the Muslim community).

"I am now part of something big with a clear purpose, and to get there I have to start from the bottom and work my way up until I am worthy for the ultimate purpose of helping the community. It is a process, and I am enjoying it."

"I am sure now why I was not happy with my previous career. I have no control because I was working for someone else's dream."

Living in the city ain’t a piece of cake but it could also be exciting and adventurous. How are you coping? How are you making the best out of things? Do you have a story or experience to share?

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Stay tuned for the next episode!

Previously on Malaysian City Life #23, Chua Jien Yang shared about his passion as an ice hockey player and the obstacles of the industry in Malaysia:

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