Quitting a job to pursue an opportunity with another company can be a very difficult decision to make -- especially when you like your boss, your employer is happy with your performance, and your team depends on you. However, sometimes you'll learn lessons in your new job that can take your career to a much higher level.
But what happens if some years later, you decide you would like to return? Will you be welcomed with open arms or turned away?
Berta de Pablos-Barbier is president of Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S., part of the world's largest chocolate manufacturer and the company that brings you a tremendously wide array of taste treats -- everything from M&M's in most every color and flavor possible, to Snickers, Dove, Twix, Altoids, Life Savers, Wrigley's chewing gum, Starburst, and so much more.
In a recent interview, Berta told me that, in 2007, she left behind her corporate job at Mars Wrigley as general manager for Spain. Intrigued by the idea of working in the fashion industry, she resigned to start up her own children's clothing company. Berta knew she was taking a risk, but in doing so she pursued her dream while learning some very valuable lessons about herself.
"Something that I learned about myself," says Berta, "is that I really missed working for a big company, and that I'm better working for a big company, surrounded by lot of people with diverse thinking. In your life and your career, there are certain moments when you learn something about yourself."
Ultimately, Berta learned what kind of business environment was optimal for her -- where she could make her greatest contribution. As it turned out, this was not in a startup. According to Berta, "After a number of years of experience, you realize that there are certain situations, certain companies, and certain jobs where you are just at your best. So, you should always discover what you are going to be your best at. I am personally at my best when I'm loving what I do."
When Berta realized that a startup wasn't for her, she joined Boucheron-Luxury Group as VP, global marketing and communications, and four years later she became chief marketing officer at Lacoste. Berta returned "home" to Mars Wrigley in 2015. She jumped back into the company as VP, marketing, Mars Chocolate North America, and was promoted to president of Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S. in 2017.
According to Berta, the reason she was welcomed back is because one of Mars Wrigley's company values is the learning ability of associates. Says Berta, "If associates can learn with us, perfect, and if they can learn elsewhere, that's good as well. Mars valued my capacity to learn outside of the industry, and how I could bring that learning back into the company."
As a leader, do you encourage your people to follow their dreams and try new things, even if that means that they will have to leave your company to do so? And will you welcome them back with open arms if they decide they want to return?
As the experience of Berta de Pablos-Barbier clearly shows, the knowledge your people bring back into your company from outside the organization can be a tremendous benefit to all involved. So why not leverage it to the benefit of your employees, your company, and your customers? That's just smart business.