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Should You Go Back to Your Old Job? Four Key Questions to Ask Yourself

Rangam Oct 6, 2023 3:03:14 AM

Sarah Anderson was in a dilemma. It had been three months since she switched to a new job when the 34-year-old media professional learned from a former colleague that her position was still vacant in the previous organization she worked for. Sarah, like many others, was part of the talent revolution, or what’s now known as the Great Resignation, and had quit her earlier job to seek greener pastures. The new job gave Sarah a better role and a higher remuneration but she still missed the camaraderie and the comfort zone of her earlier job.

Sarah isn’t alone. Hundreds of employees contemplate going back to their previous jobs after starting a new one. If you’re one of those individuals and didn’t burn bridges in your previous position, here are four key questions that you should ask yourself before making a decision.

Were you trying to get away from something?

People usually change jobs to go toward something new and challenging because the new opportunity is more growth-focused and offers a better scope for career advancement. However, if you left with no discontent, returning to your previous job may not be a bad idea. Besides, if the new job falls short of your expectations, going back could be worthwhile.

Were you unhappy, has it changed?

Dissatisfaction is often a major reason for a person to change jobs. Has the work environment in your earlier organization improved? If flexible work opportunities didn’t exist earlier, are they being offered now? If you were not inspired by the organization’s leadership, has there been a change in personnel? Several issues could have caused dissatisfaction in your earlier organization. If most of them are resolved, you may consider returning.

Are you missing something?

You probably changed your job for a better pay package and bigger challenges. Are you missing the culture of excellence, self-respect, and appreciation that coworkers had for each other in your previous workplace? On the other hand, less important things like reduced commuting time or good food at the cafeteria, may not be the best of reasons to return. Consider the important factors, and whether the things you missed from your previous organization are small or big, in relation to your priorities. If the intangible factors are significant, returning could be a smart decision.

Is there a bright future in your new role?

A job change is followed by a period of transition. It takes time to adjust to new colleagues, fresh targets, and higher career goals. Give yourself enough time to acclimate to your new organization and job roles. According to a recent survey by human resource (HR) platform Paychex, 80 percent of American workers who quit their jobs during the Great Resignation, are now regretting it. The team member you just met could become your best colleague at work. Your new job could be the first step towards a brilliant career in the new organization. The company has labeled the psyche as ‘Great Regret’. Discontent could be temporary and part of a transition period. If you foresee a bright future, it will be wise to stay with your new job.

While money and perks are important, the Paychex survey revealed that individuals missed their colleagues the most. This was higher in the case of women, being 31 percent more likely than men to miss their coworkers, after switching jobs. Coworker bonding forges a sense of community between colleagues, leading to a positive corporate culture. But before taking the leap back, be sure to give the decision considerate thought.

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