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Boomerang Employees: Workers Who Reunite with Former Employers

August 16, 2014, 6:35 PM

LeBron James is the world's most famous boomerang employee, an apt piece of colloquial slang that describes former employees who return to a company for a second stint. As Val Matta explains at Mashable, hiring boomerang employees is beneficial to employers because it means fewer costs associated with bringing on a new worker. The benefits to the employee include not having to worry about finding a niche in a hard-to-navigate new culture.

While LeBron's exit from Cleveland was less-than-harmonious, he benefits from being the best in the world at what he does. Because of that, the Cleveland Cavaliers were more than willing to have him return like a proverbial boomerang. In his Mashable piece, Matta lays out strategies to be deployed for those of us interested in someday returning but who could easily be passed over in favor of candidates armed with similar skill sets. Here's a summarized breakdown of his advice:

1. Amicable Partings - The problem with burning bridges when leaving a job is you scuttle almost any chance of ever returning. Even if the thought of ever working for the company again makes you sick, unprofessional exits have a tendency to come back to bite you. Remember -- not everyone you alienate on the way out is going to remain at that company. A person you antagonize now might end up on the receiving end of a job application later. Acrimonious exits rarely serve anyone's greater good; really, they can only hurt you. Be classy. Be cool. Don't be a jerk.

2. Show Off Your New Skills - Former interns in pursuit of full-time positions can still be considered boomerang employees. My office currently features two former apprentices who returned later to take positions in different departments. Show your former/future employer that they're getting a new-and-improved you. Even though LeBron James didn't have to submit a cover letter to the Cavaliers, he could hypothetically have pointed out the benefits of experience (and championship rings) he obtained as a leader on the Miami Heat. What are your "Miami Heat championship rings" and how are you going to flaunt them?

3. Don't Make This A Habit - Boomerangs are only amusing for so many throws. The same goes with boomerang employees. Matta warns of the stigmas associated with "chronic job-hoppers" (which sounds like the name of my next punk band). Hiring is an expensive process and companies aren't going to waste their time on you if they sense you're not willing to stick with them long-term.

This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as Matta's advice goes. Read the full article (linked again below) and let us know what you think.

Keep reading at Mashable

Photo credit: Keith Allison


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