Tale of the Boomerang Employee: Why I left and Then Returned

By Matter

Most Millennials will agree being in today’s workforce is hard. Not for the reason of actually working – because that in and of itself is challenging – but more as it relates to the number of opportunities available to us. There is so much we can do, see, explore and offer that sometimes it’s hard to say no to new opportunities. This past Spring, I found myself in that predicament. At the time, I was working as an account executive at Matter focusing on a healthy mix of technology, healthcare and consumer clients. I had productive team dynamics and my managers both pushed me to be better but at the same time appreciated the work I was delivering. It looked like I had a bright future ahead of me.

So why did I leave?

Since the start of my career, I had found a knack and certain level of passion for healthcare. It’s an extraordinary world to be involved in once you start and I quickly found out that it’s also hard to switch once you’re in it. It’s an industry that involves everything from politics, environment, technology, science, business and consumer, all under one umbrella. As I moved through college, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be content with writing about precision medicine. But there I was, about five years into my healthcare public relations career and enjoying the challenges and wins that came with it. However, like many other people around my age, I also wanted to keep trying new things as I continued my path through healthcare.

One of the main reasons I joined Matter was to break out of healthcare, at least for a little, and try out consumer public relations for size. For roughly two years, I was lucky enough to work on one of the company’s largest consumer accounts in addition to a healthcare technology company. Though interesting and challenging in different ways than healthcare is, I soon began to realize that the direction I wanted to steer my career in was more on the healthcare and technology side.

Changing direction to explore a certain industry

So, in April I chose to switch paths from Matter and join a smaller healthcare-focused public relations agency. This new position would take me about 50 miles south of my hometown – however, the drive would be inconsequential given my love for healthcare, right? The opportunity came to me organically and at the time it was something I didn’t think I could pass up. Of course I had doubts and certainly struggled as I decided what my next move was. However, I also knew that if I didn’t try it, I could have potentially missed out on something that could have taken me further in my career.

My main point here is to not bore you with my career path, but to emphasize how many opportunities are available, even in one industry like healthcare. While many believe the plethora of work options is a good thing – which it is – it can also make career decisions more complicated and difficult.

Millennials crave work environments different than the norm

As Millennials, it’s almost a rite of passage for us to break away from the norm when it comes to working. One study found that 89 percent of Millennials would prefer to choose when and where they work rather than being placed in a 9-to-5 position. We crave work environments that have flexible hours, higher pay, fun extracurricular activities, a dynamic, challenging but fun work atmosphere and even companies that send you overseas and hopefully, in between all that, we work with and for naturally good people. It’s a lot to ask our superiors and society to ultimately update the traditional workplace. Then again, if companies don’t comply with those types of asks and demands, their competitors will, and employee retention will decline.

Millennials are also known for staying at their current job just a few years at a time. At one point, I was working with a colleague that had only stayed at each company one year before moving on to the next opportunity. A recent study found that the average tenure of a Millennial employee is two years. Millennials are constantly seeking change or the next best thing and sometimes it takes us a few tries to understand what we are looking for was where we just were.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side

That’s what happened to me. After a few months working for this new company, I realized that the work I was doing at Matter and the people I was with, was what I needed in a career. I appreciate the hard work that goes into making Matter a great company to work for, along with the work/life balance. It’s extremely rare to find a company that encompasses all of those things – especially at a growing agency – but Matter’s doing it. While no job is 100% perfect (but what is?), as long as you identify a career path you know you will be successful in by working hard and, at the same time, enjoying the work and people surrounding you, you are on the right track. For me, six months isn’t exactly a long time to be at another agency however, it was enough to realize and understand what I was actually looking for, was where I had previously been.

To all other Millennials still trying to figure it out, there’s no definitive answer to when or where you’ll find your place. However, the best thing to do is continue to follow your gut. If you need to venture out of something you’ve grown to love and appreciate, that’s okay. That said, if you feel challenged, enjoy the work you’re already doing, and appreciate and respect the people you are working with and for, you may need to identify that one thing that may not be working for you – whether it’s the industry you’re working in or the city you live in. Working for companies like Matter, there are always opportunities to slightly change direction or even location, and you’ll find that as long as you speak up, your managers will listen to you and work with you to ensure you’re happy and being able to perform at the highest ability you can.

Interested in joining Matter, or at least checking out what we’re all about? Check out our careers section here.