You gave it your best shot but the new job isn’t working out. Why bother scouring the jobs boards, when you could simply ask for your old position back? It may be tempting, but firing off an email to your old boss after a bad day is the last thing you should do.
Before you even think about contacting your former employer, here’s what you need to consider.
Know your motives
As much as you don’t like your new job, there are reasons why you chose to leave your old one.
‘Once you’re removed from a situation it’s easy to look back through rose-tinted glasses and start to think your previous role wasn’t as bad as you thought,’ warns David Shindler, performance coach and author of Learning To Leap.
‘Do you want to go back because you’re uncomfortable with change? If so, that’s not a good reason.
‘Don’t have regrets. Regret is an unhealthy state of mind that prevents you from living in the present. When you make a decision, there are always consequences, new opportunities and realities. Rather than beat yourself up over your decision to change jobs or careers, it’s better to look forwards.’
Before you decide, David’s advice is to seek support. ‘Talk to your closest friends, mentor, career coach, or anyone who you trust and who can ask you the supportive and tough questions to help you think it through and make your own decision.’
Contacting a former employer
If you decide going back is the right decision, do your research before contacting your former employer.
‘Things change quickly and even if you’ve only been gone a few months, they are likely to have replaced you or allocated some of your tasks elsewhere and those people may not be happy to see you return,’ says Corinne Mills, Managing Director of Personal Career Management and author of Career Coach.
‘Make sure you know exactly what you are stepping back into – both in terms of the new team set-up as well as any other organisational or sector changes that may have had an impact since your departure.
‘The best way to do this is to talk to some of your ex-colleagues, perhaps contacting them via Linkedin if you’ve not kept in close touch.’
If you left under a cloud, you will need to think carefully about who to approach and how to pitch your return. If you left on good terms with an ‘open door’ invitation, it will naturally be much easier.
Even if you left on good terms, you still need to prove yourself. You can’t rely on the good reputation you once had, especially if there has been a change of manager since you left.
Your reason for leaving
Whether you’re emailing your old manager or applying for an advertised vacancy in a different department, you can be sure anyone looking at your CV will ask why you left the company.
‘Make sure you have a good answer, and make this explicit on your cover letter or CV,’ advises Corinne.
‘Don’t just think about why you want to go back, put yourself in your former employer’s shoes and consider why they should want you back.
‘For instance, you could say that the development you needed wasn’t available within the organisation at the time, so you left to pursue this elsewhere, and now you want to bring it back with you.
‘Your former company should feel that you’re an even better asset to them than you were previously – not that they’re doing you a favour. No-one gets a job out of pity or because they like you. You need to prove that the benefits of taking you back outweigh the risk that you’ll leave again quickly.’
What to say to your current employer
‘If you do decide to go back to your old job, be open and honest with your current employer about the reasons,’ says David. ‘Recruiting you will have cost time and money, not to mention expectations about the value you were bringing.
‘A lot of things will have been said along the way, so try to see things from your current employer’s point of view.’
Even if the role wasn’t right for you, it’s always best to leave on good terms. After all, you never know when you might want to go back.
Image Copyright: Icylig, Photodune.com