Is it okay to return to a former employer? Whenever the question comes up, everyone always seem to take a firm stance with an adamant NO, with ego fueling their position.

Realistically speaking however, should that be considered the rule of thumb?

There are several factors to consider when deciding to return to a former employer. The most important being your circumstances. If you’re out of work and need money to sustain your life, then returning to an old employer could be the solution.

If the above is not the case and you’re simply searching for another job and considering going back to an old one, size up the situation.

Notice I used the words “going back” in the last sentence. You need to determine, if you would be going backwards in your career. Are they offering you a higher position with better pay? Do the reasons that caused you to leave still exist? Will returning to this company increase or decrease your marketability as an employee? Is it a better working environment? These are just a few questions to ask yourself before returning to a former employer.

Overall, you want to know if you’ll be traveling down a familiar road that has not been paved.

A few months ago, a friend of mine brought up this topic referring to a former coworker that had returned to her company. She spoke about the situation as if it were shameful and as if her coworker had broken the law. Marie made it clear she was not in agreement with K’s decision.

From her perspective, the company had not gotten better but in fact had gotten worse since K’s departure two years earlier. She went on to point out flaws in management, changes in perks, increase in the workload and a general dissatisfaction with the direction in which her company was heading.

I noted that the company probably made K a great offer to return. I also pointed out that perhaps K’s return would help improve the working conditions. Marie, for her part could not accept any good reasons for K’s return.

It wasn’t until, our conversation moved to K’s perspective that my friend became more open minded.   The reality of the matter was, we had no idea what happened to K during the last two years with her new company. Did she have a longer commute? Was the environment more toxic at the new place of employment? Did she regret leaving her old company?

As we discussed the situation from K’s possible perspective, Marie only conceded that each person has to do what is best for them. Which, at the end of the day is true and really all that matters.

If you’re currently contemplating a return to your old employer, put pen to paper and identify the pros and cons. If possible, reach out to a former colleague to get feedback on the working conditions. Most importantly, you need to know if the reasons you left are still there. Another important element is your current situation, i.e., your home life, your finances and your well being.

If you believe things will be better, go for it. If you know nothing has changed, drive pass that exist. Always remember not all opportunities are good opportunities.


Returning to a Former Employer

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