Getting back to an ‘ex’ is never an easy task. To expect the romance to flame up or to start from where one left is over expecting the welcome. It is a lot more complicated that when a person decides to join back his ex-organisation.
The homecoming, boomerang employee is not a new phenomenon in the MAdTec (Media, advertising and technology) world. Most of the smart people have at some stage have considered homecoming. Many have taken the final step.
It is not just the talent shortage and an undocumented experiential culture that makes it a good strategy for organisations. Homecoming at the senior level is a well-orchestrated move for a defined leadership impetus. There have been a few in recent times. It is clearly a new emerging trend.
Homecoming is not an embarrassing situation in MAdTec. There is no taboo attached to it. It is no longer considered a backward move. No one even thinks about, how will they face their ex-colleagues and what explanations they will need to give?
When the organisation sincerely wants a person back, they are more than willingly to accommodate or adjust their stance. There are times when the person finds getting back to a known devil the best alternative in terms of work prospects, enhanced role and responsibilities. Organisations also use such situations to influence existing employees. Every homecoming creates a buzz and amplifies the thought: it is a better place to work for.
In the best case scenario, the employee and the organisation passionately want it to happen. The situation is well-captured in this quote by Robert Frost, when he writes: “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” The worst situation is reflected in this John le Carre quote: “Homes where you go when you run out of homes.” If that is the situation, there is no real charm in homecoming.
The professional journey takes the traveller through multiple versions of the business and engagement. The maturity and experience gained makes it possible for the traveller to appreciate the home more from his/her wandering (a borrowed expression from Charles Dickens) thus seeds the initial desire for homecoming.
Life is not so simple. “Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; You have grown outside the puzzle, and your piece no longer fits.” ; Cindy Ross. The organisation and the traveller have moved along their destiny.
Hopefully, they are no longer what they used to be. That means that the new relationship may or may not have the same fire, passion and desire of the old time.
In fact, every homecoming traveller expects to be happy. However, anticipating happiness and being happy are two entirely different things. There are newer expectations and most likely the people, are no longer the same.
In case you are being chased, it is fair to infer that the organisation loves you enough, thinks you’re great, or you have a powerful darling guardian angel who wants you back. The relationship is fine and not strained. It is most likely for you a chance for better monetary adjustments and negotiations.
It demands you to be willing to make new roads and connection. Put time as if you were the new one in the organisation. You need to be willing to adjust to the culture and new design before wanting to tweak and twist them. In such a case, it can be rewarding experience.
Everything is never going to be easy. There will be people who will have negative outlook and sentiments towards your coming back. You could be a barrier in their career path. You could hint towards them to need to restyle their work process. It could be old burned bridges, angst, or ill-speak from any side. You need to be fully aware of this and not expect a red carpet welcome from everyone.
An organisation in case of a senior position homecoming may create a new role justification with undefined expectations. It may try easing the situation by a flurry of rationalisation of already existent roles and responsibilities. This may at times create a lot more traps than solve the problem.
Fortunately, in the MAdTec world, most of the professional hatred is not so deeprooted to jeopardise homecoming at a senior level. I know I am over-simplifying it.
In case of homecoming at the middle or junior levels, things can be different. The new employee can be the most expendable when need arises. It is important to understand, if you are just a solution to a raging fire or a long-term solution and act accordingly. There are managers, who won’t hesitate to use you without any consideration of its impact in life of the employee.
Homecoming is a good thing, if the organisation and the employee both have the right intent and clarity.
BLOG/54/2017 First published in MXMINDIA.com