‘Boomerang’ employees and hasty decisions

‘Boomerang’ employees and hasty decisions

‘Boomerang’ employees and hasty decisions

In business news, quitting seems to be this season’s hottest topic. ‘Quiet quitting’, early retirement, switching industries, and people starting their own businesses, the Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to a seismic shift in the world of employment. As we stated in one of our previous blogs, ‘for workers of all ages, the pandemic has shown them that life is too short to devote their life to a career that may no longer suit them—whether it’s their ambitions that have changed, or they just want to prioritise their family over work and spend more time with the ones they love.’

Employees might want to quit, especially if their hours aren’t flexible enough, or they want to pivot into a different industry after working in the same job for years, but how feasible is quitting?

The BBC reports of a wave of ‘boomerang’ employees, who have returned to the same company after previously leaving. Their article is largely a positive one, focusing on Chris, who returned to a company after being poached by a rival firm, which saw him ultimately secure a more senior position after gaining more experience. Instead of being penalised for quitting, Chris was effectively promoted. In 2021, 5% of all new hires were ‘boomerang’ employees, and that number might possibly be rising.

Chris might have quit on good terms, given that he only left to pursue a better opportunity, but not everyone exits their job on such a positive note. Whether it’s quitting to start their own business, or for another job with more flexible hours, people might find that their new venture doesn’t pay as much as they thought once they’ve jumped ship. Someone in the same industry for their entire career may depart for greener pastures and a new challenge, but they may then find that they struggle with the basics of their new job, or they don’t possess the right skillset to achieve the same level of seniority as in their previous position. In either scenario, their former employer might not be willing to welcome them back.

There are plenty of articles online that recommend how to return to a job after quitting, most of which begin with swallowing your pride, grovelling, then affirming that you won’t do it again, for want of a better phrase. Perhaps a caution should be made to people thinking of quitting their jobs—make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Chris’s previous company welcomed him back with open arms, offering him a senior role that matched his new skillset. For the majority of ‘boomerang’ employees, their experience will likely be much different. Their former employer might begrudgingly offer them a pay cut and/or less desirable hours once they have the upper hand, and they may always see them as a flight risk from that point on. That’s also assuming the employee’s old job is still available; the company may have recruited someone else to take their place in the interim.

As specialists in recruitment website design, we’re the first to know whether there are more job openings than ever before (which there are. There are currently more vacancies than people unemployed). Someone mildly dissatisfied with their current role might look at other offers, without fully realising the consequences that could come from leaving their safety net. Of course, for many, the change will be a blessing, allowing them to replace any grievances in their old job with something new and exciting.

It's always beneficial to know what your options are, just in case anything goes wrong in your current job—and it’s also crucial to know your worth in the wider workplace at any given time. When searching for other jobs, you might come across something that would be a perfect match for your skills, with desirable hours and a pay rise—if so, is there any harm with putting in an application? Like Chris, you might acquire a positive learning experience and secure a better position for yourself at the end of it. However, whilst that’s the best-case scenario, the worst could be giving up a stable income on just a whim. In some cases, there’s something to be said about ‘better-the-devil-you-know’…

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