Just Can’t Get Enough

Sometimes the grass is greener where you already are

In most companies, the way you categorize employees is pretty straightforward: the current and the former. But at Adobe, there’s a third category: the ones who left and came back. Those are the boomerangs. Some details of their stories are different, but the main point is the same: It might be human nature to wonder what else is out there, but it’s wise to go back to a good thing when you can.

Verna C.
Senior manager, business model strategy

Came back after:
15 months

Working her first post-MBA job, Verna C. was enjoying her job at Adobe in San Jose. But when a recruiter from another major company asked her to join, she wondered whether getting experience elsewhere might be good for her. And it was—in the “learning experience” sort of way.

It was almost like coming home, in a way. Everyone was very welcoming about my return. That surprised me. I worried that people might think it was strange, but everyone was warm and accepting.

“For me, two things became clear at the new company,” Verna says. “The role I joined was online marketing, and it wasn’t the role for me. The other thing was that I really missed the Adobe culture. And it became apparent to me that that’s the sort of culture I thrive in and enjoy.”

At about the same time Verna became dissatisfied with her new job, her old manager at Adobe had an idea: Why not come back? Adobe had since launched the Adobe Creative Cloud and was looking for someone to help with pricing strategy. Verna fit the bill. So 15 months after she left, she was again roaming the halls of Adobe.

Today, Verna is a senior manager in business model strategy for Creative Cloud. “I’m glad to be back.  I really enjoy working with my team, and it’s great collaborating with people who are as thoughtful as they are talented.”

Umal B.
Web technologist

Came back after:
3 months

Life really is what happens when you’re making other plans.

Umal B. was thriving in Adobe’s Noida, India, office as a web technologist on the WebOps team. He had worked for the company for six years and had found work that challenged him just the right amount. It took advantage of his strengths while making him aware of what he needed to work on.

“That kind of great environment lets you spend every day and every hour learning new things,” Umal says. “I don’t think you find this sort of environment too often.”

I never wanted to leave Adobe, but family comes first. I had to tackle those issues and I didn’t know when I would be back at Adobe, but I always wanted to be back.

But when family issues came up, requiring Umal’s presence back home, there was only one choice he could make—although it was a painful one.

His managers wanted him back, too, and they stayed in touch during Umal’s three-month absence. Finally, when circumstances changed, he was able to move to Bangalore and resume his job in the local Adobe office.

“It was the same old team, and it was an awesome experience the first day back,” Umal says. “As soon as I came back, there was never a feeling like it was something new. I’m really grateful to my manager and the WebOps team for everything.”

Lauren P.
Senior technical program manager

Came back after:
14 months

Lauren P. came to Adobe by way of the Macromedia acquisition, and her combined career in those two companies spanned 12 years. That was quite a long time, and Lauren thought it might be worthwhile to explore other opportunities. So she did.

At first, I was excited to be taking on a different role, but after being in a different environment for a while, I started to realize that I missed some of the things I had taken for granted at Adobe: the passion and creativity and the culture in general.

Wanting to do something entirely different, Lauren mentioned to a friend that she was starting to think about what was next on the career horizon, and that she was interested in finding an opportunity in a software security role. Her friend said, “That’s funny—I just saw a job opening like that at Adobe.” 

Thinking the door to the past was closed, Lauren was a bit apprehensive about the idea of returning. But the job was exactly what she wanted to do and would give her the opportunity to learn all the things she was eager to learn about the security space. So she interviewed for the position and got the job of senior security program manager. And she was, of course, welcomed back.

Dennis T.
License management consultant

Came back after:
7 months

As a license management consultant in Adobe’s Munich office, Dennis T. liked his job. But then he got a call from another company in need of someone with exactly his background. He had been at Adobe for nearly three years and thought a change might be interesting. But within two weeks at the new company, he started to regret the decision.

“I thought right away that maybe that wasn’t the right place to be,” Dennis says. “The collaboration we had at Adobe makes such a great working environment, but I didn’t have that at the new company and nobody was interested in building that up. It was a really bad experience.”

The way you feel doing your job influences your private life, and mine has improved so much since I came back.

He gave it a few months, optimistic that he could make it work. Still, the job didn’t feel right. So he contacted his old manager at Adobe and asked whether he might come back, and the manager welcomed him back with open arms. Dennis is now doing the same work he did before—and feeling a renewed appreciation for the collaborative, supportive environment and how it enables everybody to be more successful and happier.

“I have so many open and friendly colleagues, and we have a beer after work or do fun stuff on the weekends,” Dennis says. “I’ve never had that experience of community at any other company.”

Cover photo by Dan Wehrle (Adobe photographer)