Making a career change to a new industry

How a career change could lead to more fulfillment at work

3 min read

May 2021

Goldfish leaping from glass fishbowl into larger glass fishbowl

Have you ever thought about changing careers? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. The average person changes careers as many as 5-7 times during their working life. The timing’s dependent on the person, but the desire to make a career change seems to be on the rise for a variety of reasons.

When Pat Holmes decided he was ready for a career change, he was an Accounting Manager in a government agency. Today, he’s an IT Manager at Progressive. It’s probably not what you’d consider a common career path, but it’s one Pat’s so glad he took a chance on.

Before coming to Progressive, Pat felt like he was hitting what he called a “career ceiling” in his accounting role and a change to the private sector appealed to him. He decided to take a leap and pursued a job in analytics at Progressive. From there, Pat was able to transition his career path to IT.

Here are some common reasons why people make career changes, and how those changes led Pat to the IT field.

  • Using and growing skills: For many professionals, switching careers is all about the need to encounter new challenges. Some feel underutilized in their roles. When people can put their skills to good use, they tend to be happier and more engaged. People also want the opportunity to learn and grow which is what Pat gained through his move to Progressive.
  • Organizational culture: For many people, this can be a combination of the people you surround yourself with in the workplace as well as the values and benefits that influence how people behave in an organization. If values aren’t matching up, it can impact job satisfaction and networking within a company. For example, the collaboration Pat had with IT professionals while working in analytics at Progressive influenced his decision to pursue an IT career.
  • Compensation: It’s no secret that money has an influence on career choices. Chances are if a new job comes along with a significantly higher wage, you’ll look twice. If you’re anything like me, recognition for a job well done can be motivating. Pat’s drive to grow his career also aligned with his desire to increase his earning potential—something that could be explored with a new industry.

The question remains, are people making job or career changes? Although the reasons for those changes can be the same, the results are very different. We have leaders at Progressive who, like Pat, joined with accounting backgrounds and now have careers managing teams and large initiatives in the technology space. Now, that change didn’t happen overnight. It required good work ethic, networking, and transferable skills—all of which led to a career change instead of a change in jobs.

Pat has played a key role in our Data Management & Analytics organization for the last four years as an IT Manager. He’s a great example of someone who took a calculated risk when making a career change and it paid off. He enjoys his role in IT at Progressive and feels there’s so much more to do. If you’re not feeling fulfilled in what you’re doing, it could be time for a career change to a new industry.

Alexandra Russ is a Senior Talent Advisor at Progressive Insurance. She is a highly motivated recruiting professional with more than a decade of experience identifying the best and brightest talent to join our team.

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