If you've ever regretfully left a great workplace for a better opportunity, you might benefit from keeping an eye out for open positions there. HR professionals call these hires "boomerang employees," and they're great for an organization's larger performance. They also tend to be glad they came back, for a variety of good reasons.
Psychologists from Carnegie Mellon University have just published a paper on boomerang employees and how they benefit an organization. While the study throws cold water on one piece of common wisdom (that such employees tend to be better at their jobs), it does show some big advantages for the workers themselves. "When compared to internal employees who never left the firm, boomerangs aren't better performers, but they are happier and paid significantly more," said coauthor Catherine Shea.
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More specifically, the research found that boomerang employees tended to feel more valued by the organization, that they're more committed to helping the organization, and that they're more engaged in their work. Previous studies have shown that your career satisfaction has a lot more to do with how you're treated at the office than the particulars of your job. By swinging back around to an earlier employer, you may be able to secure that treatment while also bringing fresh ideas and well-rounded experiences to your new role.
Of course, it's important to keep a clear head about the actual practices of your previous job — after all, there is a reason you left in the first place. But if you can make the second round work, chances are it can work out for you very well.