Is It Possible For A Manager To Boomerang?

You might end up working for your old boss
You might end up working for your old boss
Image Credit: Hatoriz Kwansiripat

Let’s take just a moment to think about how you got to where you are right now. You’ve had a series of jobs that have eventually lead to you having the job that you have right now. Hmm, that’s all well and good, but how is this one currently going? If it is not going as well as you want it to, perhaps it’s going to be time for you to get a new job. Maybe you will end up working for one of your old bosses…

Everything Old Is New Again

Managers who want better pay and more flexible schedules are finding new jobs in a surprising but familiar place: their old organizations. An increasing number of managers, often called boomerangs, are returning to the companies that they once worked for. Their stories are different but the same. Some left and worked at another firm for a time, while others simply left a company expecting to never come back. Now, many are returning and they may even find themselves working for their former bosses.

What managers need to understand is that as strange as this may seem initially, the situation can be mutually beneficial to managers and companies. For managers, many have been able to secure a higher salary and a promotion with elevated responsibilities. Employers have the opportunity to bring back proven managers, quickly. This is particularly beneficial now as many companies are currently struggling to fill jobs. The motivation for bringing former managers back into the fold should come from employers thinking, “In the last three years who left and who would we want back?”. Managers who were laid off, or otherwise affected by the pandemic, may now be considering a return because the company they left is once again thriving.

Managers who are working at firms where they may feel as though they have been passed over for leadership opportunities may have started job-hunting. When they start networking, a contact at their old firm might ask whether they would be interested in coming back. If you handle the negotiations correctly, then you just might be granted a bump in pay and title. It can feel like a step forward professionally, even though it is going back to an old company. A quick look at LinkedIn data shows that boomerang workers have increased across the companies on its platform this year. Tens of thousands more people have been returning to old employers. Currently, Boomerangs account for 4.5% of all new hires among companies on the professional networking website. This is up from 3.9% over the same period in the previous year.

The Power Of Boomerangs

Boomerangs are everywhere. In fact, even at LinkedIn they have been hiring their own boomerangs this year, with the site doubling the number of new hires who were also former employees compared with the previous year. The company has used its alumni network as a source for hiring and referrals, maintaining an active group for former employees on its platform and extending referral bonuses to alumni. LinkedIn has started to more deliberately target ads for new roles at that group and has actively encouraged alums to return.

Enticing workers to come back says a lot about what an attractive workplace your company is. People who already know your culture and have been a part of it who might have gone somewhere else but come back are sending an important message. Firms need to understand that if they have a role to fill and they really enjoyed working with someone, then they need to reach back out. Managers need to understand that deep in their heart, there’s always a soft spot for a company that they’ve already worked for. When you start working for a former company again, you need to understand that there will probably be others who are doing exactly the same thing that you are doing. These days, even if we start remotely, we will eventually return to the office. We need to understand that this will be like a homecoming kind of experience. We may even have friends that who are still there.

What All Of This Means For You

Managers change jobs all the time. The next time that you go looking for your next position, there is the very real possibility that you may start to consider going back to work for a company that you’ve worked for in the past. In fact, if you accept a job with them, there is a possibility that you could end up working for an old boss. Managers need to give this possibility some careful thought. Is it something that we should do?

Managers who decide to return to working for a former employer are called “boomerangs”. It turns out that going back and working for a company that you’ve worked for in the past may be good for both of you. You know the firm and so you know what you are getting into. The firm knows you and you can fill an open position for them. The reasons for coming back to a company that you have already worked for can be many and varied. Often, managers who feel that they’ve been passed over for promotions are interested in finding new positions. Many companies are actively looking for boomerangs to fill open positions. Companies that can get former workers to return feel that it says something about what a good place they are to work at.

When we go looking for our next job we need to understand that we’ll have a lot of options for where we can go next. One important option that we always have is going back and working for a former employer. We need to consider such opportunities carefully. However, they can offer a lot of benefits including a workplace that we already know and perhaps a promotion and an increase in pay. Perhaps being a boomerang is a good thing after all!

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you should go back and work for a former employer if they fired you?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Being a good manager is all about making good decisions. If the decisions are not all that hard to make, then this can be an easy thing to do. However, when we are faced with making a difficult decision then all of sudden this being a manager thing can get a whole lot tougher. What we need to understand is that in order to make good difficult decisions we need to make sure that we understand the situation and that we ask the right questions.