Someone recently asked me, and many other people have asked before, if I thought it is wise that they should go back to their former employer and seek re-employment.
Just to give you a background of this last conversation, this said person had voluntarily resigned from this employer so as to deal with family matters which according to them was interfering with their service delivery at the time. First, I have such respect for people like this because it takes courage and maturity to reach to the point where you are willing to admit to yourself that you are only human and you need a break. Not many people are willing to make this sacrifice.
There are very many reasons why people leave from an organization, resignation is just one of them. Back to the conversation at hand, the answer to whether you should or should not go back to seek re employment is never a Yes or No affair. It is a personal decision that one has to make on their own after a thorough soul searching. I admit, it requires a lot of courage and humility to approach a former employer and tell them , ‘look, I’m here and I’d like you to re-hire me’ and most especially if you did not leave in a positive light, or even when you separated in good terms.
My response to this kind of dilemma therefore is normally to ask the person to examine their motive for wanting to go back. Is it that you genuinely want to come back to a place you once served at and loved or you are just desperate and looking for whoever is willing to take you? Is it that you have something more to offer this employer or the greener pastures you went to seek turned out to be not so green after all and now you just prefer the devil you know? Once you leave a place, your relationship with that place and the employees automatically change. The question is, are you willing to swallow your pride and work with the people you left behind again amidst all the stares, mistrust and the murmuring until you win them back? Remember that this could take awhile. It’s like trying to win back your spouse after they found out that you cheated on them. Thirdly, why are you so afraid of moving forward? To the unknown?
My personal advise to myself has always been to keep moving forward. Once you leave an organization, coming back, unless you really have something new to offer, is almost like vomiting and licking it back. I apologize for the extreme description and I say this respectfully. The future is uncertain for everyone and it doesn’t guarantee that when you come back, everything will now fall into place; it could. However, by expanding your horizon, you continue to stretch yourself, you challenge your own thinking and get to learn things you obviously didn’t know. It could be rough a long the way but that’s the price you pay for success. Being comfortable births complacence and once you become complacent in your career, you are as good as not being there.
Note that my own interpretation above does not stop you from seeking out a former employer, it is only you who knows your intentions and how dire your situation is. However, have that long meeting with yourself and be very clear on what you intend to achieve by this move because it could turn out to be one of the worst mistakes of your life or you could just be opening a new door to a greater career and future.