April 22, 2016

Thinking of Returning to a Previous Employer? Consider These Issues First:


Are you thinking about returning to a previous employer? Have you been offered an opportunity with a company for which you used to work that would be really good for you? Are you unsure about how this kind of situation will play out?

You’re not alone. Many of us have considered the possibility of returning to an ex-company, but there are a few important things to think through before making your decision to go back.

You’ve likely heard a lot of negative feedback regarding your possible return to an old company, but there are instances where it can be good for both you and the employer. You bring built-in experience and knowledge of how the company runs; meanwhile, the company holds for you some level of comfort and familiarity.

Still, you’re bound to feel a certain level of apprehension or even fear, so the decision to return to a former employer should never be made lightly. Here are a few things you should think about before returning to the fold:

1. There May Be Some Negative Feelings

This may not be a showstopper, but you do need to know that some people at the company may hold negative sentiments toward you. It may be that you violated trust or even that you somehow burned a bridge when you left. This doesn’t mean that you can’t move back into your old role, but it does mean you should be particularly aware of how your manager might feel about you if you do return. Know what you are walking back into.

2. You Could Be Made Expendable (Again)

Perhaps you feel there is stability in returning to a previous employer – but that’s not necessarily the case. You’re starting afresh, and that means you’ll have the least tenure of anyone else on the job. So, if the need ever arises, you’ll be the easiest to get rid of – especially because you already left once. That’s why it’s important to negotiate some form of outplacement in the event of a layoff before going back.

3. The Company May Have Changed

RoadYou might think you’re returning to the same old place, but things may have changed substantially since you left. You need to perform your research as if were brand new to the company and knew nothing about it.

Be sure that you read up on the company’s current standing, how it is doing overall, what the position would entail and add to the organization, and the overall outlook for the company. Doing your homework now can save you from being left high and dry in the future.

4. Is It Truly a Match, or Just a Quick Fix?

Just as important as other people’s perceptions of your return are your own personal reasons for doing so. If you are considering going back just to get out of your current position, then this may not be the right choice.

If you are only doing this to have a job, or if you intend to leave again as soon as the right opportunity arises, then you should think twice. If you leave the company a second time, it’s very likely that you’ll also leave a bad taste in your colleagues’ and supervisors’ mouths. This will only serve to give you a bad reputation.

Preparing For a Good Move

So, you’ve been convinced: You’re going back. Maybe you are returning because you know that this was where you should have stayed all along; maybe the company is luring you back because it needs you more than ever and is finally prepared to make the right offer.

Whatever your reason for returning to a previous employer, you should know that it can work out well for everyone – as long as you take the right steps:

1. Work at Rebuilding Relationships

It’s always wise to work at networking, and this is a case where it can really pay off. Rebuild relationships with your former colleagues. Put forth the effort and show interest in being a part of the team again. If you take the first step, you will show your potentially wary coworkers that you are in it for the right reasons. You will also make your transition a lot easier on yourself and everyone around you.

2. Be Clear About What You Are Looking For

Ask a lot of questions and be very clear about what you are looking for in your new (old) job. Make sure the work is going to be meaningful and aligned with what you truly want to do.

AlleyIf you leave this up to chance, then you are bound to become unhappy again. Be sure that you have the important conversations now about what your role will be when you return. Make sure it’s truly a good match.

3. Reaffirm Your Commitment

There’s a reason that your ex-company wants you back, and it’s time to focus on what that is. Now is the time to reaffirm your commitment to the company and to making it work. You should be looking for the same dedication from the company as well if this is to be a long-term and successful partnership.

Though some people will say that it’s never a good idea to go back to a previous company, there can be instances where it works well. Just be sure you think through everything and give careful consideration as to why you left in the first place before making any decisions. Going back can be a really wonderful thing, but only if you are sure that it’s a good fit for you and that you can give this company everything it needs and wants from you, too.

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Joe Flanagan is the senior resume consultant at Velvet Jobs, a resume builder, job search, and outplacement firm that helps candidates and employers across all industries. When he's not working, you can find him studying Mandarin Chinese and running middle distance.