Vanguard coming home career

Who says you can’t go home again?

There’s a famous scene at the end of the movie Cast Away (if you’ve never watched the movie put it on your “to do” list”) in which Tom Hanks is standing in the middle of the crossroads trying to determine which direction he’ll take his life after spending 1,500 days alone on a deserted island. The scene highlights the power of having options and the factors involved with making decisions that shape the direction of lives. The power of choice can never be undervalued. We have so many choices to make in this life and perhaps none more important than what shapes the direction of our careers.

In July 2015, after 11 fantastic and rewarding years with Vanguard, I found myself at a career crossroad. I chose to leave the organization to explore a different path. It was a very difficult decision as I knew what I was leaving behind: the crew, the relationships, the stability, the mission, and the pride in saying I worked for Vanguard. I chose to leave to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I was intent on taking the life and career lessons learned at Vanguard and positively impacting an entrepreneurial start-up organization. I knew what I was leaving behind, left on the best of terms, and was excited by the unknown ahead.

Vanguard coming home career

Returning to Vanguard

My career tenure outside Vanguard did not last long. Fast forward 9 months…in April 2016 I returned to Vanguard as a contract recruiter – a return that was possible based on previous performance and the strong relationships I had built during my time with the organization. While there are many reasons why the other career opportunity did not pan out as I had hoped, the lessons learned, both positive and negative, further solidified my drive and passion to return to Vanguard. Most importantly, I learned the value of humility, as I left Vanguard a full time crew member and returned as a contract resource with no guarantee of being rehired as a crew member. Despite the risk, other full time job offers, and lack of guarantee in being rehired, my heart was set on Vanguard. I was eager to reconnect with my peers and positively impact the organization for a second time.

Vanguard coming home career

When I share my Vanguard career journey with external candidates and internal crew, I’m always asked the same question: “Why did you come back to Vanguard?” It’s a fair question as people don’t often return to a former employer. My “why” can be categorized in three key groups: the people, the purpose, and the possibilities.

The People

Vanguard’s people (crew, contractors, interns, etc.) drive business initiatives and innovations that positively impact our shareholders. Throughout my collective 13 years with Vanguard, I am grateful to have worked with smart, inventive, engaged, passionate, and dedicated people who have helped me grow personally and professionally. In turn, they have become my best friends, confidants, teachers, counselors, and extension of my family. I am also grateful to have led so many talented professionals. Watching their growth and development is as equally rewarding as my own career success.

The Purpose

Vanguard’s continued commitment to clients, crew, and community is unwavering. It’s rewarding to work for an organization that strives to put the best interest of clients first, provides rewarding career opportunities for its crew, and consistently serves our surrounding communities. The business initiatives, strategies, and innovations implemented at Vanguard are done to create the best possible experience for our shareholders. For crew who make a personal commitment to own their career journey, perform well in their existing role, and continuously push themselves to learn, opportunities await – whether it’s interesting projects, coaching and mentoring, or a new position. Lastly, I am proud to work for an organization where supporting our communities by volunteering our time, talent, and treasure is part of our cultural fabric and not an organizational obligation.

Vanguard coming home career

The Possibilities

I originally started my Vanguard career as an entry-level Processing Associate. In the subsequent years, through hard work and taking an active role in my development, I’ve built a successful career in Human Resources in both individual and leadership roles. I’ve gained something from each of my positions at Vanguard while embracing the challenges of new roles and pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I define career possibilities as the opportunity to combine my passions with organizational needs and openings. With hard work, initiative, and an open mind, there are no limits to what your career can be at Vanguard.

At some point in our lives we are all in the same position as Tom Hanks’ character in Cast Away. Each of us will encounter a career crossroads at some point in our lives. Defining your “why” is a critical step in determining the path you take. I have taken the road less traveled and my “why” has allowed me to come back home to Vanguard. The very last words spoken in Cast Away are “thank you”. The words simplify the gratitude Hanks’ character had for his journey and the ability to determine his path – regardless of which road he chooses. Thank you Vanguard for allowing me to choose the road less traveled and ultimately to choose the road back home.

-Chris E.

If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at

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