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How Changing My Career and Moving Cross-country During a Global Pandemic Changed My Life

Car Driving On A Sunset Road

About a year or so ago, I decided that I needed a career change. I’d spent the last 10+ years working as an ecommerce practitioner within the health and medical space, and loved the time that I spent helping our customers. Knowing that I needed a change, I spent some time diving into what I call ‘career soul searching’ – devoting time to reflect on the past 10 years, what I accomplished, what I learned, and what made sense as the next chapter of my professional career.

With that said, here is a little backstory on my start in ecommerce. I really grew up in this industry from my early days as an intern back in 2009, where my first task was updating and building out enhanced descriptions for the product detail pages (PDP) of a large medical device manufacturer (quite the tedious task I may add). Now, writing PDP descriptions wasn’t exactly what got me hooked on ecommerce, but rather, it was seeing the impact my work had on the overall site experience. I saw how far-reaching ecommerce can be, and how even something as small as a product detail page and enhanced content can make a difference for site users. From then on, I was determined to harness ecommerce to help make customer lives easier.

Finding the Right Fit

I’ve worked in various ecommerce roles since then, and through my ‘career soul searching’ time, I concluded that two big changes needed to happen. First, I wanted to find a way to help more organizations navigate the complexities of ecommerce and deliver exceptional user experiences, solutions, and features. Second, I wanted to do this in a new place.

I first started down the path of determining what type of career would look like, and through speaking with various colleagues in the industry, I found that the role of a Commerce Consultant existed. Through some additional research, I knew that this type of position would perfectly align with my passion; it was exactly what I was looking for.

Oddly enough, Perficient was the solutions implementor at my previous company. I’d developed a great working relationship with the team over the last few years, and thought it would be a great place to start. I expressed my interest in this type of role, and through some initial conversations with my now-supervisor at Perficient, I could sense that the passion I had for this industry space was concurrent with the culture at Perficient. I knew that it would be a great fit.

The second piece here was where I wanted to live. As my role is largely remote, I had multiple locations that I was deciding between. I had gone back and forth on a few, but ultimately decided on Austin, Texas. I always felt that Austin is one of those places where creativity and energy is apparent and potent. Events like SXSW have helped Austin establish itself as a technology juggernaut, not to mentioned DELL calls Austin home as well.

Navigating Roadblocks, from Massachusetts to Texas

So now that both of my ‘big changes’ had been decided on, I had to find the right timing to make the jump. I didn’t want to relocate without having a job secured, but unfortunately, timing can be a tricky thing and a role at Perficient didn’t immediately present itself– it took some time. Thankfully, that time came right around the start of 2020, and I officially start as a Commerce Consultant at Perficient in early February. Almost immediately after I started, two massive things happened:

  1. I signed leasing papers for a new apartment in Austin
  2. COVID-19 started to wreak havoc.

Here I am, in a new role, about to move to a new city during a global pandemic, while the country is on the brink of a national lockdown (see earlier point about timing being a tricky thing). I couldn’t delay my lease, so I had no other choice than to brave the elements and drive from Massachusetts to Texas. Twenty-eight hours later, half a bottle of hand sanitizer, and a few stops later, I arrived in Texas healthy and safe.

This entire process has reminded me that life tends to throw curveballs at you when you least expect it. No one could have predicted this virus would hit as hard as it did. Many organizations built roadmaps for 2020, and I can guarantee you that most didn’t have Coronavirus as a destination. But just as I did, organizations who rely on ecommerce must push forward and adapt to the present challenges to find new ways to succeed.

Dealing with the Curveballs

This experience has reminded me that things can get crazy sometimes, and sometimes you have to pivot and make a new game plan. The same holds true for the clients we serve at Perficient. I’m proud to be a part of a team that shares the same passion for helping businesses achieve greatness, even during times of distress.

In these trying times, we must try and remember that “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations” – and together, we will achieve great things for ourselves, our clients, and our future.


At Perficient, we continually look for ways to champion and challenge our talented workforce with interesting projects for high-profile clients, encourage personal and professional growth through training and mentoring, and celebrate our people-oriented culture and the innovative ways they serve Perficient and the community.

Learn more about what it’s like to work at Perficient at our Careers page

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Justin Racine

Justin Racine is a Director and Lead Strategist with Perficient, and he works with clients to build and achieve their business goals through commerce-enabled technologies. Justin has over 12 years of experience within the ecommerce space, working with companies such as Cardinal Health, Johnson & Johnson, and Olam International, and has spoken at over 20 global conferences on ecommerce and branding strategy. Additionally, Justin has been published twice for his thought leadership on branding and marketing in the Henry Stewart Journal of Brand Strategy, is a contributing writer for, and a frequent contributor for many leading industry publications.

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