I had the pleasure of speaking at an event for Civil Service Leaders last week; the event was entitled Empower and Exceed. From Selvin Brown, MBE, who is HSE’s Director of Engagement and Policy to Jo Farrar Director General for Local Government and Public Services. Each member of the panel shared their engaging and inspiring career story.
What struck me was something that is rarely given as advice by your boss, sponsor or internal mentor. Sometimes you just need to leave your current job, gain some experience elsewhere and come back to get on in your career. I don’t mean leave because you are escaping an awful work situation, but with the purpose to gain the diverse skills and experience you need to be valued at the next level up. This may be easier to achieve in the civil service, but happens more often than you might think.
I think we’ve all experienced working somewhere for a while and then a new person joins saying similar things to what you have been saying, but for some reason they are listened to more keenly.
Or been ready for a promotion, but your organisation does not have the vision to see you at the next level up.
Or felt frustrated that it is impossible to gain the skills needed at more senior levels in your organisation.
The idea of leaving to come back may sound risky and you may wonder if it is really possible to go back to your old organisation, after you’ve left. Well, according to a study by Kronos and WorkplaceTrends.com, 76% of 1,800 U.S. human resources executives and hiring managers say they are open to hiring “boomerangs”—even though, until recently, almost 50% of the companies surveyed had a formal policy against it. More than half say they now give “high” or “very high” priority to job applicants who have worked at the company before.
Progressing to a new organisation can improve your confidence, develop your self awareness, broaden your knowledge and skills and widen your network.
Some things to think about if you do take this approach:
Check your organisation’s policy, do they take back ex employees? Additionally, even if you become highly skilled and expert, your old organisation might not have vacancies when you are ready to go back. However, you will have made yourself highly marketable, which means that someone else might snap you up, or you may even want to stay at your new organisation.
Keep in touch
If you leave on bad terms or don’t keep in touch with anyone from your old organisation when you leave, it will be difficult to reconnect with them, as ultimately one of these contacts is likely to be your way back in.
Build your profile
While away, build your profile in your profession, sector or community through speaking at events, writing articles, networking on and off line. Have a portfolio to show what you have achieved that you can take with you to any job.
Have you ever left a job and then gone back to the same company, how did it work out for you?