Boomerang Employee: An employee who leaves a company and later returns.
We’ve all been there — hands shaking as you walk up to your boss’ office, grasping your letter of resignation. Whether it is part-time or full-time, leaving a company is never a comfortable conversation — even if you are leaving on good terms.
I think the biggest reason leaving is so difficult is because of how permanent it feels. Once you leave, there is no coming back (or so you might think — I’ll touch on that more later). Plus, it’s easy to dwell over whether or not you’re making the right decision. How will this one action change the trajectory of your life? For the better, or for worse? Will you regret it?
There are a number of reasons why someone might leave their job. An employee may quit because they took an opportunity with a different company, or they may have decided to completely change their career path. Other times, employees resign to further their education, tend to personal situations, or to follow their spouse to take a new job out of the area. For me, it was a combination of the latter and to pursue a dream that I had since middle school: move to California.
I started at Terakeet as a digital marketing specialist in August, 2017. It was my first full-time job out of college. Though I graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2014, I had spent a few years working part-time jobs and freelancing in local media. Despite the fact that I loved my job at Terakeet, the young twenty-something [spirit] in me never truly let go of the notion that I needed to do something [wild] and drastic that would always be a unique part of my personal story.
When my fiance secured a job opportunity in San Diego, I knew this was what I was waiting for. We had to go.
Everything was all planned out — the cross country route we’d take to get there, all of the personal belongings we’d leave behind, and we even secured a room to live in at a relative’s house until we could get on our feet. The only thing left to do was put in our two weeks notice with our respective employers. We both loved our jobs — so it’s no wonder that this dreaded task was saved for last.
Despite my shaking hands and intense nerves, the human resources team was extremely comforting and understanding. I turned in my [notice], completed my exit interview, and left Terakeet on good terms.
Everything continued to go according to plan until we parked my Kia Forte in the driveway of our relative’s house [just] outside [the] San Diego city limits. Our living situation quickly turned into a mess, my fiance’s job presented some unexpected challenges, and I could not seem to land a job for the first time in my life. Over and over, I would make it to the last round of an interview but found myself losing to an internal hire or someone who already had an established connection within the company. Looking back now, this scenario was a lesson in the importance of networking (and patience). At this point, I felt defeated and irrevocably homesick.
I found myself applying to seasonal part-time retail positions while thinking about everything I had left behind back home at Terakeet, especially when chatting with my former coworkers. They kept me up-to-date on how much the company was growing and evolving since I had left, and truthfully, I was bummed that I wasn’t part of it.
About four months into my new West Coast life, it began to look like a move back home was inevitable. As we slowly started to make plans to turn around, Terakeet was on the forefront of my mind. Even though boomerang employees were starting to become a thing, I had never heard of the concept and thought being rehired at Terakeet would be a long shot — even after leaving on good terms.
I reached out to Terakeet’s Director of Talent Acquisition, Brenna Bastian, and after applying to Terakeet for a second time, I was welcomed back with open arms as one of Terakeet’s first (but certainly not last) boomerang employees. It has been two years since my return and I could not be happier with my decision or more grateful that Terakeet so warmly welcomed me back. I choose to look back at my year in California with nothing but fond memories of adventure and personal growth.
Since my departure, Terakeet has grown and evolved significantly. I am constantly astounded by how much this organization cares about its employees and I am confident we have a company culture that won’t be found anywhere else.
A Trend on the Rise
What was once taboo [boomeraging] is now becoming a common trend in the modern workplace. For a long time, most companies held true to a policy stating that former employees could not be rehired. Thankfully, attitudes towards the idea are changing across the board.
In a study by Kronos and Workplace Trends, 76 percent of the 1,800 human resource professionals they surveyed said that they are becoming much more comfortable hiring boomerang employees now than in years past.
Why might that be? Well, there are a multitude of benefits when it comes to bringing back a former employee. First and foremost, former employees are already familiar with the organization, its culture, and its people. With that, training time and cost with a rehire is significantly less compared to that of a new hire. It is also a safe bet that a rehire will become their organization’s biggest cheerleader. After taking some time away to collect new experiences and reflect on their career, an employee would only consider coming back if they realized they left behind something really great and felt that it was truly where they were meant to be.
Insight from Terakeet’s Boomerang Employees
Since my return, Terakeet has brought on a handful of other boomerang employees with their own stories to tell. I caught up [virtually] with a couple of my fellow boomerangers, Mat Fox and Greg Mahnken, to get some insight into their own Terakeet journeys.
Q1: What is your current role at Terakeet?
Mathew Fox: Recruiter.
Greg Mahnken: Associate Product Manager.
Q2: What was your role before you left?
Mat: Business Development Representative (Sales Team).
Greg: Digital Marketing Specialist.
Q3: Why did you leave?
Mat: At the time I left, I had been with Terakeet for 5 years, largely in a sales role. I was curious to see what other sales opportunities were out there and accepted a position as a medical device sales rep.
Greg: To pursue an MBA.
Q4: How long were you away from the company?
Mat: Roughly 15 months.
Greg: 2 years.
Q5: What changed the most at Terakeet by the time you returned?
Mat: Definitely the size of the company, I think when I left there were 100-120 people and shortly after I returned, we were gearing up to hire our 200th employee and now we are over 250! Also, the level of work and the clients we work with is very different and impressive.
Greg: The digital [outreach team] had changed dramatically. Unlike before I left, we were now only working on one client each and the role involved more writing opportunities. The RED process [our company-wide quarterly business development process] was also new to me when I returned.
Q6: Did your time away open your eyes to aspects of the company you may have previously taken for granted?
Mat: I don’t think I took anything for granted necessarily, but I think what really opened my eyes while I was away is how much the Terakeet leadership cares about all of their employees.
Greg: The health insurance! As a rowing coach/grad student, I had the absolute bare-bones coverage for 2 years!
Q7: Was the Terakeet culture a part of the reason you wanted to come back?
Mat: 100%. I’ve yet to find a company with a better culture than Terakeet.
Greg: Yes. The team mentality and having coworkers who will not just answer your question but take the time to sit down and show you something so you understand it, that’s my favorite part about Terakeet culture.
Q8: How long have you been back with Terakeet and how do you feel about your decision?
Mat: I’ve been back for a 1.5 years now and couldn’t be happier with the decision to return.
Greg: I’ve been back for almost 2 years. I’m very glad I came back to Terakeet, as my career has advanced a lot since my return!
Racheal Morrow is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Terakeet.