Is it okay to “boomerang” and return to your old job?

Going back to an old job is something a surprising number of people do. In 2019, just under 5% of recruits on LinkedIn were returning to an old job. They became what are widely referred to as “boomerangs”.

But is going back to a former employer a bad thing? Is it a black mark on your CV?

Here’s everything you need to know about being a “boomerang” if you’re thinking of returning to old pastures yourself:

Why go back to an old job?

It’s easy to see why an old employer might want you back. They’ve already paid to train you – they know they’re getting someone who knows how they work and will be a boon to the company.

But why do employees return to old jobs after leaving?

1) Renegotiate a better contract

Many people end up leaving a position for the lure of better pay elsewhere. Even if your current employer is a good one, an IT job offering 20% better pay can still be very tempting.

If your old employer, who you always liked working for, is now in a position to match or beat that offer, the idea of returning can start to look attractive.

It’s a two-way street. You get more pay and better benefits. They get to quickly fill a vital vacancy with a reliable, friendly face.

Do watch out though, because it isn’t uncommon for some employees returning to an old employer to accept a lower salary than the one they’re currently on.

Some see a pay cut as a price worth paying to return to a job they loved. However, don’t overlook the value you bring as a returning, up-skilled version of your previous self.

2) Return to what you loved

Not everyone who leaves a position does so because of a problem with the job itself.

Perhaps your partner had to relocate for work and you agreed to make the move. Maybe the company was restructured. Maybe you got a job offer elsewhere you couldn’t afford to pass up.

Now though, looking back, there might be a realisation that this was the best position for you on a personal level that considers all factors – things like a happy, friendly team, quality of life, and so on.

3) Open up professional growth opportunities

One of the main reasons people tend to move on from IT or engineering jobs is a lack of professional growth potential. Some smaller companies simply don’t have room at the top for even their star players to advance.

But maybe the company you loved but left to get advancement elsewhere can now offer you possibilities for promotion and professional growth. This can make a return sound rather appealing.

Does being a “boomerang” look bad on a CV?

It used to be that some employers would see an employee that wanted to return as an admission of failure of some kind. This is no longer the case:

  • Returning to an old job no longer has a stigma attached
  • The only exception is if your CV shows you regularly leave and return to positions
  • Being a boomerang can actually show you leave employers on excellent terms

Is it okay to boomerang and return to your old job?

With all this in mind, there is one final thought to bear in mind when you’re considering being a “boomerang”.

No organisation exists in stasis. Sometimes, this can be a good thing. Perhaps you’re going back to a data engineer job at your old firm and the former Head of Data (who you never got along with) has moved on. Perhaps a possibility of promotion has opened up that wasn’t there before.

Sometimes though, it means favoured old colleagues have moved on, pandemic-altered workflows and systems, different resources, and more.

Don’t forget to take off your rose-tinted glass before you consider a return job offer. As always, the best thing to do is to talk it over with your recruiter. They should be in the ideal position to advise you as to a company’s current culture and prospects.

Want to know what’s really out there in the current jobs market?

Let’s talk it over. Ernest Gordon is a specialist engineering and IT recruitment company where you can access a host of exclusive job opportunities you won’t find elsewhere.

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