Friday 15th of December 2017 12:23:45 AM
Homecoming – The colleagues’ envy
Dr. Hannah Ornoy

“Your colleagues wants you to go back to the person you were before. You may hear phrases like it is good to have you back, you have developed, you had fun, but now it is time to be your old self again. You are bombarded with welcome greetings, btu no one really asks you how was it, how are the people there, etc. Sometimes you are surprised, people that you thought would be curious and interested in hearing all the little details of your life there, ask nothing. You may feel that you want to stop people and ask them “do you want to hear what happened to me there?
At times you feel that there weren’t enough questions asked”

“People you meet may ask you, out of politeness, about your experiences there. But soon enough they grow tired of it, and if you continue to endlessly talk about it, you may come across as boastful person”.

“I find it very hard to talk about my experiences, since people can not really relate. If I try to tell them about the experiences that I had there, they stop listening after five minutes”.

“They did not bother to say thank about the work that you have done, and it really was a lot of work. A huge project”.

All of the above, are sentences out of people’s homecoming stories after relocation.

Poeple that come back, find it hard at times to come back to work, due to their colleagues attitude towards them. Mostly, work colleagues are not impressed with the new experiences that their returned colleague had. This attitude can be caused by their feeling of jealousy or fear that he will be promoted over them. So the new comers face a bit of a not so easy situation – from a place that they were allowed to make mistakes, they come to a place that expects them to act and to be exactly the opposite.

So what do you do?

It is important to realize, for returned employees that feel a need to share their experiences with their colleagues and friends, may encounter a cold shoulder. They might even think that they are not appreciated and well understood, and will feel the need to voice down their new opinions views that they have acquired over seas.

It is important to understand the reason for such a phenomenon:
The returned employee has a new reality now. He has acquired new ways in negotiating for examples, seen how other cultures operate, how other people think and has consolidated his own way of thinking. Unfortunately, change is not something that is well accepted no matter how good it is. People are used to the way things are handled, and are quite content with it. So when the new comer starts a sentence with “…when I worked in the Netherlands, we have solved this problem this way… “ He might get a reply such as “This is not the Netherlands!!!”

It is important to realize that it is not just an Israeli phenomenon but rather a universal one. In some countries, returned employees are viewed unpon as employees that cam back from a long holiday rather than work. In Japan, for example, there is a pejorative nickname for such employee – “kokusaijin” – and international person that has neglected the tradition.

It is imperative to develop sensitivity to the other. It is important to identify certain things that will help you better communicate. Start by asking about the other’s personal life and work life, what has changed in the organization while you were away, know to recognize the time and place for the new ideas that you have acquired, to surface. That way they will be better accepted, as long as they are shared in the right time and in the right place. 

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