Many people will tell you that coming back to the same organisation after you had once decided to leave is not a great idea. For a very long time I absolutely agreed with that hypothesis. Over a year ago I decided I would like to come back to Netguru more than 2.5 years after leaving.
Why did I do this? Why did I have my reservations? What changed and was this a good decision? If you are interested in getting answers to those and other questions, I invite you to read about my personal experience in this blog post.
To better understand my story, I think you need a brief summary of my professional journey. I graduated from Ethnolinguistics at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. I’ve always been a foreign language enthusiast and I thought I would be either a teacher or a translator in the future. I was a teacher, for a brief moment. I was also a sales assistant in one of the car dealerships in Poznan. Later, I dedicated almost 3 years of my life to gastronomy (for food is my true love). After that, it turned out I am quite good at managing IT projects at Netguru. Twice.
I started my journey with Netguru in April 2015 when the company was less than 100 strong, I was the 6th PM on board and it was my first ever IT job. As a junior, I had absolutely no clue what people were saying to me, but I tried to play along, nodded a lot and spent hours learning everything I could to better embrace my new responsibilities. At that time, good English skills and signs of management potential were good enough to be invited to work on a junior position. After a super intense year, full of many ups and downs, I came to the conclusion that it’s not my spot and maybe I should look for challenges somewhere else.
Obviously, I had my reasons for parting ways with Netguru. After that year I realized that my work caused me too much stress and that it was impossible for me to distance myself from difficult projects and clients. This, combined with the fact that I was not very happy with some of the internal decisions and processes at the time, made me start asking questions. I thought: since an IT career was never my dream, since I am upset and frustrated, why am I even here? At that point, I was not even sure if Project Management was for me. The breakup was quick but rather neutral, we said our goodbyes and I moved on.
I remember I already agreed to take on a job in sales in a completely different industry, but I had one final interview left in a small agency that needed an IT Project Manager on board. At first, I didn't even want to go but, thanks to a friendly push, I did. During the interview, when I started to talk about my experience and my potential duties, I realized that it all actually sounded kinda cool and maybe I should not give up so easily. So I stayed. This was a very valuable experience which helped me grow, see how other IT-related companies operate, what are the standards, and what I can expect from a career in Project Management. The time came when I needed to look for more variety and different challenges. Sure that I wanted to pursue a career in Project Management, I started to browse opportunities and looked for an organisation with a strong Project Management team, Agile-oriented projects, and an English-speaking environment (one of my dealbreakers at that moment).
So, yet again in my story, the search began.
I will not lie. Netguru was not the first choice when I decided I needed to change my job. For a very long time, I swore I would never come back. I went to a couple of interviews, some went okay, some went worse than bad. Ultimately, when I was still taking part in another recruitment process, I did some research, asked a lot of questions to some old friends still working at Netguru and felt encouraged - I thought maybe I should try. So here I am. I learned that Netguru went through an enormous transformation. It came with a huge organisational change and the PM department was one of the ones that shifted significantly.
Until the very last moment I had serious doubts - is this the right move? How will I be perceived by my peers? Will I keep up with the new dynamics of the company? Will the old problems come back to me? Those are just examples of the many questions that crossed my mind before I re-joined and during the first weeks (or even months) of my work. It was not an easy time, I must say.
It’s been 15 months since I’ve been back. Netguru has now more than 600 employees, there are over 50 people in the PM team, and it’s been nearly 5 years that I have worked as a Project Manager overall. There is still so much to learn that I wish I had a plug like they had in the Matrix so I could absorb all the knowledge in a matter of seconds. Even though it is not possible, I am inspired by the people around me and the fantastic things they do. Conferences internal or external, books read, case studies presented, good practices shared between project teams - I could go on and on.
The PM team is not the same, neither is the whole organisation, and of course - neither am I. I think the comeback was a success because both the company and I have changed. I am very happy to say that I truly found what I was looking for. I work in a super diverse, modern organisation developing products within cross-functional teams of amazing experts. I have learned more about lean management than I could have imagined and there is still so much out there.
Do I regret leaving the first time? No. Do I regret coming back? Hell no! Is Netguru perfect now? Of course not. But I dare you to show me an absolutely perfect company that does not need to change anything at all. Knowing that change is an ongoing process makes me excited and less grumpy than in the past. For me, coming back was probably one of the best and least expected decisions I have made in my professional life so far.
BTW: Did you know that if less than 6 months have passed since you left Netguru the recruitment process is simplified and shortened? Also, you'll get the learning and development budget straight away and the trial period doesn't apply. Intrigued? See if there are any open positions you might be interested in and find out on your own.