March 13, 2019

The Next Episode – Episodic Careers and Insurance

by Kris Gibson

The term “Episodic” when referring to careers is growing in popularity. Being in a niche industry like insurance, I wanted to take a look at this idea and see how it relates.

What does it mean?

In short, it refers to episodes that make up the whole career. Like 20+ episodes of The Big Bang Theory making up a whole season.

Generally, it is thought that most of the episodes don’t necessarily have much in common. Imagine a college graduate who starts out as a pharmaceutical sales rep. She does that a few years and then takes the understanding of sales to become a sales trainer for a car dealership. Later she takes the enjoyment of working with people and becomes an HR Generalist for a tech company. Finally, she uses the money she has saved to open an ice cream store. Unbelievable? Not as much as you might think. These kinds of careers are happening every day.

So, what about the insurance industry?

The way this notion comes up is with insurance professionals asking if leaving the industry means they will never come back. When asked, I speak from professional experience of over a decade and answer, maybe.

It’s not what people want to hear, a non-committal and wildly unhelpful answer, but it is true. I will say this, it is harder to leave insurance and come back than it is other professions. Why? Technical knowledge. Insurance, particularly legislation that impacts regulations, compliance requirements, and so forth, are always changing. Being away, even for a couple of years, can set a person back a long way in terms of their effectiveness and knowledge.

Is it impossible? No, certainly not. Plenty of people leave and come back for another episode later on but it is not always at the level they left at, or sometimes even close to it. This is where the motivation of a person comes into play more than anything. If promotions, responsibility, earning potential and things of that nature matter most, I would not recommend an episodic career with insurance as part of it. However, if those things are not a priority, then an episode of insurance may be just fine for you.


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