Should you go back to your ex- ..... employer ?

 

Going back in time was never easy. I remember when I was a kid in grade eight, and we had a boy in our class who failed the previous year and had to repeat. To me he was just a failure, period. Later, he told me had problems at home but I still looked down on him. I guess we are hard-wired to strive for success.

The writer George Bernard Shaw wrote something deeply relevant to the topic of never giving up on dreams. He said reasonable people adapt to situations they find themselves in, while unreasonable people stubbornly refuse to accept the hard facts of life. Therefore, he goes on to say, all progress is down to unreasonable people. This brings me to the first point I want to make.

You Need a Brave Heart If You Want Your Old Job Back

There is no need to put up with the consequences if we make a mistake in life. We should rather change direction, even if it means going back to where we were before. This can be a lonely road to follow because this goes contra to social norms. However at least we are in charge of our lives.

Ask any partner who stormed out the house but had to go back and apologize when they had remorse. Going back is never easy, but this is something we sometimes have to do. Henry Ford said that failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. Winston Churchill added success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. This takes a brave heart, something you need when you want your old job back.

How Jake Got His Old Job Back With a Little Inside Assistance

I had a colleague named Jake at the place where I worked. I really envied him. Everything he put his hand to was a winner. If Jake had stayed where he was, there was a promotion in the pipeline, but they kept telling him he needed more time to mature. The inevitable happened when he got chatting with the competition at a trade show. They offered him a better wage and prospects of promotion within six months.

The next morning Jake handed in his notice. A few weeks later, the boss organized a farewell. During the days between, we noticed Jake becoming arrogant something he was not like before. His farewell speech was all about himself. He did not say a word of thanks for comradeship and mentoring. Nine months later, I bumped into him quite by accident. As we chatted, I sensed his unhappiness immediately.

So how’s the new job going Jake, I asked after we found a place that makes good coffee. He started well enough, but it was not long before the pauses started, followed by the but’s and the if only’s. Eventually he blurted out I screwed up big time guy. I should have stayed where I was and been patient. I know there is no way back, I don’t know how to get out of my hole.

Now it just so happened that I knew the boss was missing my old colleague. Jake had been a great member of the team, and my company was unable to find anyone who matched up to his standards. However, I understood the impasse that stood between those two men, and it was the fear of failure.

The rejection my boss would feel if he made an offer and it failed. The deep depression Jake would sink into if he were rejected. We are hard-wired to be in teams at the most primitive levels of our brains. Psychologists call this ‘pack instinct’. Rejection by the pack is gut wrenching: Tell the family dog to go away when you are angry, see the pain.

You see, Jake’s problem was he had broken trust and left his old pack. Pride meant that he was waiting for the boss to make the first move but the boss had moved on. When I suggested Jake give him a call, he just shook his head and looked down sadly. I knew had to do something. Then I decided to intervene.

Tell you what, Jake I said. If you want your old job back somebody is going to have to make the first move, and we both know the boss won’t. That leaves you. Why don’t I casually tell the boss we met, and you would love to reminisce with him to share good times together? That way, you can see how the conversation flows, and if it goes nowhere neither of you will lose face. Jake’s face lit up. Let’s do it he said!

The boss was open to the idea, although he did say there were no vacancies if that was the purpose of the visit. I told Jake the date and time and wished him luck, as I would be out of town with a client on the day. When I got home later Jake was waiting for me at the door beaming from ear to ear.

The ‘bad penny’s’ back the month after next he said. How did it go, I asked almost unnecessarily. We chatted for a while about how my new job was going, Jake replied. Then I dropped but I do miss this place into the conversation. The boss leaned forward and said we’ll gladly have you back if that is what you want.

The rest is history. Jake settled in as if he had never been away. The old team was back and the place hummed again. So what does this case study tell you? This case study tells you getting your old job back is doable with the right attitude. Although you may need an inside edge which is what friends are for.

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