4 Questions To Ask Before Going Back To Your Old Job

By Larry Dolinko

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Tandym Group_Going Back To Old Job

If you were one of the many professionals who left their job during the Great Resignation, you likely had many valid reasons for leaving. Whether that was due to feeling underappreciated, not having a good work-life balance, or something else, you probably thought these issues would be resolved at your new company. Now that the dust has settled and you’ve been in your new job for a while, are you second-guessing your decision? 

A study found that 72% of people who left their job during the Great Resignation regret doing so. If you’re one of those people, you may be doing some self-reflecting. Did I leave growth opportunities on the table? Did I actually enjoy my work? 

The good news is that nothing is permanent—and returning to a former employer is actually pretty common. If you left on good terms, you may be able to return to your old position or in a new capacity. While the possibility is there, it’s also important to consider the pros and cons of doing so. Before attempting to go back to your old job, ask yourself these questions: 

Did I leave my last employer on good terms?

Leaving on good terms is always recommended—however, things don’t always pan out as we hope they would. Before deciding to return to your old job, it’s important to consider if your employer would rehire you. Did you formally resign and give them adequate notice before departing? Did you and your team work well together? Have you kept in touch with any decision-makers? 

Did I give my new company enough of a chance?

Starting a new job is undoubtedly stressful—you’ve given up everything you know for the unknown and you’ve likely invested a lot of time in the process. So, it’s important to determine if your discomfort is related to unfamiliarity or if the new job or company is just not it. Before deciding to go back to your old job, consider these things: 

  • How much time has passed since I started my new position? 
  • Was I misled during the interview process? If so, in which ways? 
  • Do my current colleagues seem to have similar concerns? 
  • Have I addressed any of my problems with my hiring manager and/or my supervisor? 

Why did I leave my last job?

While you may have determined you’re ready to leave your new role, you’ll want to remember why you left your old one before considering returning. Being away from a situation can, at times attribute to forgetfulness—so take some time to picture yourself back in your old stomping grounds. If you can’t happily imagine yourself there, going back to your old job is likely not a good idea. However, if you’re satisfied with what you’re picturing, returning could open doors for you. 

Another thing to consider is time. How long has it been since you left the role or company you’re thinking of going back to? Things may have changed for the good or for the bad since you resigned—so do your homework to ensure you know what type of environment you’d be entering upon rejoining. 

What do I hope to gain by going back?

While you may be happier going back to your old job than you are in your current job—is something better out there? Before approaching your old company for your job back, think about what you hope to gain by returning. Ask yourself these questions: 

  • What type of role would I want and would I be willing to compromise to be at my old company? 
  • Would my old role satisfy my career goals and personal needs? 
  • Can I leverage my new experience for a higher salary or more responsibility? 
  • Will I have growth opportunities? 
  • Do I want to apply to other companies first to see if I can find a better fit? 

If ultimately you decide you’d like to give your old company another shot, the first step is to reach out to your former manager or a senior leader rather than applying on the company website. Making this connection first gives you an opportunity to formally discuss your reasons for returning and opportunities for doing so. If there aren’t any open positions at the time, your contact can keep you in mind as a future hire when the time is right. 

Larry Dolinko is the CEO of Tandym Group, a leading recruitment, contract staffing, and workforce solutions firm. Larry leverages his experience in client management, relationship building, negotiation, and sales to oversee strategic growth for the firm, including business development and employee engagement.    

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