How to Get Your Former Job Back Gracefully

At times, we all think that the grass is greener somewhere else – and we end up leaving our current position for a different one. But what do you do if you don’t like your new job? There could be many reasons for this: not fitting into the company culture, the boss is a micromanaging nightmare, or you changed careers to try something new altogether and this just isn’t your cup of tea.

No matter the reasons, it is important to not burn bridges. Many people treat their old job with an attitude of finality as soon as they have been hired in a new position. If you do take the leap to leave, make sure to do so on good terms that keep your relationship with your boss amicable. When you leave gracefully, make sure to come back gracefully as well – you will be surprised how easy your boss will welcome you back to the company!

Here’s three ways to approach getting your former job back:

Talk to your old boss about how your return can help the company. Be honest and straightforward with them. Ask them for your old job back and tell them what you learned while you were in a new position that will help you to do an even better job in your old position. Perhaps your new job was a promotion where you learned new key skills that would be very helpful for you to train people in your old company on. Maybe the new company you worked for used a software program that made things easier and you will be able to help implement it with this company.

Perhaps, you were laid off due to your position being eliminated from the company. There have been numerous layoffs since 2008 in the United States. Many companies closed their doors in 2011 and there is nothing you can do if they have gone under completely. However, if they are downsizing and eliminating positions then you have a chance to stay if you are willing to be demoted. This may be your best option in this job market since it currently can take 40.3 weeks to find a new job.

Ask your boss what you can do to stay in the company before you are laid off. Set up a plan of action for yourself to start over and be very thankful and gracious that you have an opportunity to keep a job rather than being bitter over having to be demoted. Many companies are willing to try and help employees out if they are willing to take a pay cut. If you took a layoff package and left the company on good terms, you can still go back later and apply for a lesser position to get your foot back in the door. Just make sure to stay connected with old co-workers and your boss so you network yourself back into a position!

Turn your internship or volunteer position into a job. You should treat an internship or volunteer experience as if it were a paid position because you never know when the organization may need to step up their efforts and hire someone full time. Do your best to learn everything you can about the company and stay up to date on industry trends to show the boss how interested you are in the field. Also, make every effort to produce results in your position to get noticed and to have something concrete to point out as to why you should be considered when a position becomes available. Yes, these positions come with some grunt work but handle all tasks with a smile and grace. Never act as if though something is beneath you. The person who you are delivering coffee to may turn out to be your biggest mentor and advocate!

What do you think? What else will you do to take advantage of some old connections? What will you do differently if you didn’t previously establish connections that may help you next time around?

About Heather R. Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Cachinko. She is also the founder & president of Come Recommended, the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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