Confessions of a Member of the Boomerang Club

If you stumbled upon this post while planning your vacation to the Australian Outback, I regret to inform you that this will not enlighten you about kangaroo sightseeing. Instead it should shed a bit of light on my journey with Kinney Group and what brought me “There and Back Again” (to quote the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins).

In the professional world, a “boomerang” is an employee who left a company for any amount of time to pursue other ventures and then returned to said company’s employment. According to Forbes.com, this is a workplace trend that has been picking up traction in the last several years.

“The grass is not always greener”

I started my Kinney journey during the fall of September 2015 as a member of the People Operations team (HR team). I had a little bit of recruiting experience but barely knew a thing about the technology world. For almost two years, I wrapped my brain around confusing tech terms in order to bring on the best people available to the Kinney team while providing support to and engaging with the current Kinney colleagues. I loved talking about my job and sharing about the amazing group of colleagues that I had the privilege to work with.

Just before my 2nd Kinney anniversary, stress in my role started mounting and I felt the need to step away to a new opportunity. While my team was supportive, my manager gave me a parting gift of a plant and an encouraging “The grass is not always greener on the other side.” I started my new opportunity with my Disney memorabilia and positivity in my heart.

Well, fast forward a few short months and my new company decided to eliminate the new role I had stepped in. Completely devastated, I started my job search. Coincidentally, Kinney Group’s People Operations needed a little bit of support, so I came back in a part-time role while I continued my job search. When I returned, I asked around to see how the company was doing and how all of my fellow colleagues were. I saw a few new faces, but other than that, I soon realized that I truly missed working at this company and engaging with everyone. When my job search concluded, and I received a few other job offers, I decided to return to Kinney Group full time and resume my role as a Talent Acquisition Partner.

Becoming an official Boomerang

Returning full time to Kinney Group has been filled with excitement along the way. One of the most interesting experiences has been connecting with fellow Kinney Group “boomerang” colleagues and hearing more about their stories as well. Since one of the main aspects of my role is engaging with potential candidates for roles at Kinney Group, I was a bit concerned about how I would answer the “how long have you been at Kinney Group?” question. After much thought, I decided to be honest and share that I had been with the company for a while, left and returned as a Boomerang colleague. I quickly discovered that most people appreciate and value that type of honesty and it often fueled further positive conversations about Kinney Group’s culture, mission and vision.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things I have discovered since returning is my renewed sense of confidence in my role. I realized that I had gotten so caught up in the day to day stress that I had lost some confidence in my ability to do my job well. After a few months away, my confidence seemed to flood back upon my return. I have also been more open in sharing opinions and bringing my personal voice to discussions and meetings.

What I learned in the end.

I have now been back in my role at Kinney Group for over one year. It has been so interesting reconnecting with colleagues who have been here for a while and building relationships with new colleagues who started in the interim. As I have progressed along this journey, I have picked up a few pieces of knowledge along the way:

  1. Building a positive company culture not only attracts new talent, but can retain current and former colleagues.
    • One of the key factors in my decision to come back to Kinney Group was the magnetic culture that they have built. The company culture that I left was very fun and vibrant, but the one that I returned to was intentional about engaging with each colleague in a meaningful way.
  2. The end might not really be the end.
    • This sounds cliché and a bit like a line from an aspiring poet’s work, but it really is true. Sometimes a job switch or relocation can seem permanent, but more often than not it is just the catalyst to the next phase. In my case, my journey led me back to my previous role but I could never have predicted that when I turned in my notice.
  3. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
    • Making the decision to leave Kinney Group was one of the toughest professional decisions I had to make up to that point in my career, but that choice led back to the place where I truly feel at home in my role. Sometimes taking that risk leads you back to a place of self-discovery.

I know that my work journey is pretty unique, but I am glad that I have been able to glean some nuggets of truth along the way. And you never know, maybe you’ll find yourself in a position where you can join the Boomerang Club at a previous company or you’ll welcome Boomerangs back to your team. Whatever happens, always be willing to take the risk and see what the grass looks like on the other side.

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