Have you ever returned to work with a former employer?

Have you ever returned to work with a former employer

While there are plenty of tips for starting a new job with a new company, what do you need to know to go back to an old haunt?

We’ve provided a lot of advice over the years for people starting a new job from scratch, from helping you adjust to starting a new job remotely.

Much of this advice is based on the idea that this new job is at a company you’ve never worked with before. However, it is incredibly common for professionals to move in their industry and return to a company where they have previously worked.

In this case, it could be a similar job with the same colleagues, or in a completely different department. Be that as it may, the experience is different and therefore the nerves can also be different.

Should you go back?

You may consider returning to a former employer for several reasons. The company may have an opportunity that didn’t exist before. You may have moved to a different role that you are not happy with right now. Or maybe you have been approached with a very attractive offer.

Whatever the reason, a little hesitation is understandable. After all, you didn’t leave the company for nothing. However, it’s not always a bad idea and it might just be the best step for your career, depending on what’s on offer.

The important thing is to weigh and evaluate your options as you would any other job offer. It’s also important to think about the reasons you originally left and make sure they’ve changed in some way to make the prospect more attractive.

Top tips for returns

Once you’ve made your decision and offered a job with your former employer, many similar new job nerves are likely to set in, but there are a few other things to keep in mind.

Reconnect with old colleagues

One benefit of returning to your old haunt is the opportunity to reconnect with old colleagues. Once you’ve sorted it out with HR, let your former colleagues know you’re coming back and catch up with them.

This will help you get back into your own skin and calm your nerves before you actually have to start work. You could even make plans to meet them back in your first week for coffee or a virtual chat. Even if you no longer work directly with them, seeing familiar faces will make things easier.

Familiarize yourself with changes

Depending on how long you haven’t been with the company, there may be some changes that you have to get used to. Others have moved on, some have been promoted, the company may be taking on new projects or moving in a different direction.

Moving into a brand new role or department may require you to familiarize yourself with a brand new way of working, even if it’s within the same company. Find out where the gaps in your knowledge are and get started as early as possible.

Think about the skills you have acquired

It’s not just about making up for what you’ve missed. You will most likely have acquired new and invaluable skills in the positions you have held since you left the company.

These will remind you that not only are you going back to an old job, but you are returning with a whole new skill set and perspective from other roles that you didn’t have before. Don’t be afraid to think about how you can apply these new skills in a way that wasn’t possible before.

Prepare to feel like new again

Even if you return to the same department and work with many of the same colleagues as before, be prepared to still feel like a brand new starter.

It can be a strange experience to return to a former employer, somehow feeling both a member of the ‘old guard’ and a newcomer. It’s a unique feeling for returners and can take a while to shake off.

Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself, especially if you don’t know everything. It’s still a new job, even if the role is similar to the one you had before. Time has moved on, things have changed. So treat yourself with care and talk to your new – or old – manager as you make this transition.

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