returning to old company

A reader writes:

I have been at my current job for only 2 months. but I am really not happy. I do not agree with my boss’ practices and views on how to do my responsibilities (my boss is also the president of the company). Management is a bit disorganized. my responsibilities are not clear, and their timetable is unrealistic. When they hired me, they told me it’s because they need my marketing experience because they are technical people, but now my boss wants me to do my tasks his way. I feel that instead of me developing the skills I have acquired in my years of working, I now have to unlearn them. Also some of the practices and ethics I don’t agree with, and when I try to explain, I am met with irritation and negativity from my boss.

At first I told myself that this may just be the pains of starting a new job, but I have talked to some of my coworkers and it seems that they have the same issues. That got me thinking that maybe things aren’t going to change after all. But since I have just been here a couple of months, I wanted to ride it out, stay a couple more months and see. but I really think I want to resign.

Now comes the dilemma. My previous employer has expressed a desire to get me back. I haven’t gotten many of the details but I will have a talk with them soon. All I know is it’s a different position from what I previously had there before. I loved that company and the people there. I left because I was feeling the urge to go off and explore a new frontier but when I left, my bosses made it clear that I would be welcome back.

So what does it say about me if I leave only after 2 months? What if i do come back to my previous employer and then I still feel the need to explore? The position they’re offering is completely different and a new industry for me, and I’m not entirely sure I want to change careers.

Well, first let me say that if at all possible, I’d first talk to your new boss about some of your concerns and see if any of them can be resolved. As a manager, I’d at least want the chance to know what my staffer wasn’t liking before I lost them altogether.

But if that doesn’t resolve anything and/or you’re determined to leave, keep in mind that you have more options besides just your old company. Don’t take the job they’re offering just because it’s an easy way out of your current situation, or you could find yourself stuck in another position you’re not happy with. What I recommend is meeting with your old company to learn as much as you can about the new position. Because you know them, you should be able to get them to paint you a really candid position of the new position, department, obstacles, etc. A word of caution: Go into this meeting as objectively as you can, without having already secretly decided you want to take it. Sometimes when people are desperate for an out, they block out red flags or other important info that might push them in a different direction, so don’t fall into that trap.

On the flip side of that, maybe this new position would satisfy your desire for new frontiers — with the benefit of getting to come back to a company and people you love.

That said, why not also look around at other positions at the same time? It won’t hurt, and you might discover a completely new option that you like even more. It’s better to be able to pick from an entire menu of options, rather than confining yourself to only two. Good luck!

{ 8 comments… read them below }

  1. HR Wench*

    Don’t feel bad about leaving your current position (if that is what you end up doing). Learn from it – ask a lot more questions at the next round of interviews (especially management style – sounds like you found yourself a micro manager). Things like this happen to almost everyone: “Oh no. What did I get myself into?!”

  2. Anonymous*

    I am in the exact same position as reader, and i would like to go back to my old company as well. they have a position i want to express interest in and would like to send an email out to the hiring manager/vp to express interest in coming back to work for them.

    does any one have any suggestions on how i should go about this ?

  3. Ask a Manager*

    Anonymous: Since they have a position open, it’s easy — just get in touch with your old boss and/or the hiring manager and say you saw the opening and would love to talk about returning. Just be straightforward about it!

  4. Anonymous*

    I had thoroughly disliked the company policies which had changed because of some other company taking over but liked my job and had quit the company out of frustration and also because of a dream of moving on to a better position and doing something more constructive. However in the end did not find a suitable job after several months and now because of no other options, want to get back to the same job with the same profile and same salary? Should I go back at all? When I had quit I had gone to every floor of the company, met every individual and had said good bye. It was a plesant exit though as I had done full justice to my job till the last working day and was smiling big time when leaving. Would nt it be embarassing to go back because I dint find a job elsewhere?

  5. Anonymous*

    No nothing to be embarass at all think of it as you own the business, they dont care about your feeling all they care about you produce at the end of the day don’t make it a drama its all about the money they hired you in the first place yhey must have seen something in you and your pontential they will be glad to take you back, Remember think like chinese people they look at everything like a business, you will realize, how they other end feels and you can see the big picture. actually they love you because their able to manipulate, they got you under control. and for you you just want a paycheck to survive in this bad economy

  6. Dana*

    This was an absolute brilliant post including the comments and the writer’s responses. It has built my courage to go forth with my decision to seek a new position with the same company but different division. Moving to a different division definitely eases the “embarassing” return. Thank you all infinity for this post!

  7. T*

    I returned to my old position (I was there 10+ years) after 5 months at another company. I struggled with coming back, but the job I went to was not a food fit and I was miserable. I am now concerned that if I get laid off in the next several months that it will be a struggle to find a job. I am not so much concerned about being seen as a hopper, but I am more concerned about questioning my ability to adjust. Does anyone have thoughts on this?

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