Ask a Career Advisor: Is It Okay To Ask for Your Old Job Back?
The pandemic and talent shortage have given workers and job seekers the upper hand over the last few years. Millions of people have contributed to the Great Resignation, quitting their jobs to readily find opportunities that provide better pay, benefits, flexibility, workplace culture, or all of the above.
Not all of these stories have a happy ending, though. Some people who joined in on the Great Resignation are now regretting their career moves and experiencing “quitter’s remorse” because:
- Their new job wasn’t what they were expecting or wasn’t a good fit
- Their new job offer was rescinded
- Their new position was unexpectedly eliminated
- They quit without another position lined up and haven’t found something else as quickly as they thought they would
If this sounds familiar, you may wish you could return to your previous position but aren’t sure how to go about it. Lori Cole, Certified Career Coach and Advisor at iHire, shares her thoughts on how to ask for an old job back.
Is It Okay to Ask For Your Old Job Back?
“If you’re suffering from quitter’s remorse, there are a lot of factors to consider before approaching your old boss,” advised Cole. “First, look into your company’s rehire policy and your rehire status if applicable. Next, consider your relationship with your previous manager and coworkers.”
When you resigned, did your manager say something along the lines of, “You’ll always have a place at ACME”? While this isn’t a guarantee, it could mean you have a good chance of returning to your previous role, especially if you were a top performer and high-contributing employee. Hiring you back as a “boomerang employee” will save them significant time and resources compared to finding someone new, and it’s not surprising that reenlisting former employees is a trend in 2022.
Carefully consider why you want your old job back as well. Is it because you truly miss it, or are you rebounding too quickly from your new opportunity that fell through? Are you unhappy in your new role because it’s a bad fit, or have you not given yourself enough time to acclimate?
“Perhaps this goes without saying, but you need to be 100% sure you want your job back and that you’re not making a snap decision. Take your time and carefully consider the pros and cons,” added Cole.
Our worksheet for analyzing multiple job offers can help you compare your old job to your new one across several key areas.
How To Ask For Your Old Job Back Example Script
How you ask for your old job back will depend on many of the factors covered above, though you should aim to be honest, concise, grateful, and receptive to questions and feedback. Here’s an example script that you can adjust to fit your specific situation:
“Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. I hope all is well with you and the team at ABC, Inc.! As you know, I resigned from ABC, Inc. last May to join DEF Corporation. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to grow in my career and work in an industry that has always intrigued me. However, after several months in this new position, I’ve realized the role and company aren’t a good fit for me. I would like to discuss the possibility of returning to my former position at ABC, Inc., or within another role where I could contribute.”
You could use this script as the basis of an email if you’re planning to reach out that way, though a face-to-face meeting – in person or virtually – would be ideal. Be ready to answer follow-up questions and give your manager time to consider your request (this is not the time to apply pressure).
“Check your former company’s career page before you reach out as well,” said Cole. “That’ll give you an idea of where they stand with hiring your replacement, or if there are other positions you could fill.”
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Be Prepared For Rejection
Even if you have a great relationship with your old boss and deliver the most professional and polite pitch to be rehired, the answer could still be “No.” Employers are desperate for talent, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be welcomed back with open arms automatically.
“If you’re rejected, maintain your professionalism,” recommended Cole. “You may feel embarrassed or angry that you even asked, but don’t let those emotions damage your relationships or stall your momentum. Instead, continue to express gratitude, keep networking, and actively searching and applying for jobs.”
For more job search tips, including how to apply to a company you’ve already been rejected from, head to our Job Seeker Resource Center.
July 26, 2022
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