Emotions

Returning to Former Employers : You must be Desperate!

19 May , 2015  

Saying ‘yes’ to returning to a previous employer, is to me a difficult proposition. If my last memory of the workplace was one filled with positivity, will I be able to recreate the good memories of days bygone? And if I left feeling frustrated, would I be able to start on a “clean state” and invent “new experiences”?  Its never  perfect to say “yes” to return to a past employer. The battle to begin on a “clean slate” is a difficult fight.

Do you dread returning to your former employers? But then many have been successful in their second innings.

I’m keenly observing the Kevin Pietersen comeback bid, the South African-born English cricketer who recently made a desperate attempt to get back into the England international side. Pietersen has been quoted as saying, “I want my England place, and I think I deserve my England place. “And when his hopes were dashed by Strauss, he tweeted just last Saturday: “No one is guaranteed selection. I was told there was a clean slate. I wanted to earn my place back.”

Lets not missing out on the key phrases used by Pietersen in his attempt at “second innings”. “No guarantee”; “clean slate”; and “earn my place back” are the very phrases you hear even by corporate “boomerangs” too.

I’ve thought of these phrases all too often when I re-hired former employees. This is something I will continue to do especially when I’m faced with the gap of finding new people with a particular skill set. However, I’ve come to realize that it’s almost always a tough second innings. This is due to the dynamics which take place at resignation; while away; and upon returning:

At Resignation:

Debating that the current role or organisation did not hold much promise for them in terms of career growth (title; salary; maybe the boss and job responsibility) hence they shun strong retention gestures and upsetting some egos/sentiments in the process.

While Away:

Their subordinates received significant growth (title and salary) to fill in the vacuum. The employer probably has changed to new style of work. Also their successor may have easily adapted and implemented the new way of working.

Upon returning:

Accepting that starting on a “clean slate” actually means adapting to a slightly changed atmosphere and culture. They also have to erase the doubt that they wouldn’t quit again. Returnees have to perform faster and have to be more successfully than someone new!

So why do talent choose to return to past employers?

  1. Poor adaptability skills compounded by the fact of missing familiar grounds especially for those who have clocked in far too many years with a past employer;
  2. New pull factor which most times refer to a new boss at the previous work place who brings with him/her a new sense and style of working alongside brand new success strategies;
  3. Feeling of regret from a hasty decision to leave.

As for me, I have politely declined second innings offers. Furthermore, I’m inclined to believe that it’s tough to recreate the good memories I have had working for them. In addition, these offers came at a time when I wasn’t being “pushed” to leave my current employer nor the job I’m in.

Now, that’s just me. I know many people who have done extraordinarily well on their second innings. I salute their resolve to return. You might just be one of them…

I pray that I continue my streak of new career decisions to avoid any second innings. But then again, life sometimes has a funny way of upsetting our runs, don’t you think?

“To me, recreating that note/beat on returning is a challenge.”

“To me, recreating that note/beat on returning is a challenge.”

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