THINKING ABOUT RETURNING TO THE JOB YOU JUST LEFT?
Updated: Jul 7
What do you do when you leave a job for a new one and realize it was not a good idea? Sometimes you know you made a mistake and should not have quit your old role. Of course, in some instances, you may have been laid off or let go. Perhaps there are new owners, the new supervisor left the company, you are not feeling supported, appreciated, or the culture has changed. It’s rare, but in some cases, people have returned to previous jobs. Still, it’s crucial to consider the following before acting on it.
CONSIDER WHY YOU WANT TO RETURN
Think carefully about why you left and why you want to go back. Have you taken adequate time to adjust to your new job? You shouldn’t try to return because you haven’t given the new employer a chance. After all, new roles involve an adjustment period.
TO WHOM SHOULD YOU REACH OUT?
This depends on how the situation was when you left. If your former boss is still there and you left on good terms, you should reach out. If the person is no longer there, you will need to contact the HR department. Be prepared to answer questions addressing why you want to leave your current company.
WHAT METHOD SHOULD YOU USE TO CONNECT WITH YOUR FORMER EMPLOYER?
Send a short email saying you would like to be considered for a role at the company and would like to talk further. Maybe you did not have a chance to do XYZ at the new job or leverage specific skills. Keep all comments about the company you left positive. Be professional, honest, and sincere. Possibly, you have developed new skills you could bring to them.
WHAT IF YOU WERE LET GO OR LAID OFF?
If you were laid off due to a restructure and there is an open position, perhaps you could apply. However, if you were fired for cause: fraud, theft, harassing/assaulting someone on the job, embezzling, poor performance, most likely they would not consider you. In addition, did you quit without providing two weeks’ notice? Were there personal issues like conflicts with coworkers/colleagues who are still there? There might be a chance if you can prove you have changed (anger management classes, testimonials from a current boss, etc.).
DOS & DON’TS FOR REACHING OUT
Do avoid negative talk about your current role, boss, colleagues, and company.
Don’t assume you were indispensable and should be rehired.
Do play it safe and let them take the lead. If they are considering rehiring you for the former position, avoid asking for more money right away. This is not a typical #jobinterview and application process where you could negotiate salary. Keep the focus on them and how you can add value.
Maybe returning to your previous employer can offer what you don’t have in your current position. Perhaps you can work temporarily to see how it works out. If another person has taken your previous job, be prepared to accept a different position or work in another department. If you like the company, chances are you could move into other roles in the future.