You have to leave a job in good standing before you can even consider going back to work at your previous place of employment. Burning bridges never helps when you need to retrace your steps, especially in the workplace. There is a chance your old job has been filled already, but there may be another opening if your former employer appreciated your work and you gave proper notice.
Set up a meeting in person with your old boss. According to human resource consultant Roberta Chinsky Matuson, this is not the type of conversation you want to have over the phone or by email. You need to be able to look your former employer in the eye and express your regret and sincere desire to come back.
Make the meeting as soon as you realize you want to go back, especially if you know within a week or two that you made the wrong choice. You'll have a better chance of finding your old position unfilled if you don’t wait.
Explain to your old boss that you think you made a mistake and that the new job wasn’t what you thought it would be. Be casual about it and tell your previous employer that you really miss your co-workers and the company culture you left.
Express your regrets about your decision and explain your reasons for leaving. Take responsibility for your decision and don’t blame anyone else. Give your former boss a list of reasons why you should come back that include your experience with company procedures, your stellar work record and the plans you have to raise your performance levels to new heights.
Talk about the lessons you learned throughout the entire process and assure your former employer that you learned a lot about yourself, the potential that was right in front of you and your commitment going forward. Give your former employer assurances, based on those lessons, that you won’t come back only to turn around and quit again in the near future.
- Whenever you quit a job, always leave an opening for returning. You never know if the new gig will suit you as well or if the promised job is all it’s cracked up to be. When you turn in your notice, ask your manager if the new job doesn’t work out, whether the company will still have a place for you.
- When you call or meet your old boss to talk about coming back, don’t disparage your new employer. If your old boss hears you talking negatively about a competitor, she may think you’d do the same to her.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."