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Can I return to my old job?

By Joan Lloyd

Dear Joan:
I'm writing to request your guidance. I started a new job about 7 weeks ago. In my former role, I worked independently and had a lot of responsibility and autonomy. I was recognized as a talent and I was assured I was on track for another promotion.
 
However, I was frustrated because I felt that my workload wasn't adequately recognized. I was working in a smaller line of business since I joined the company, I was anxious to move into the 'bread and butter' product, but quite frankly, just burned out.
 
I'm in a new job now in a different company and I'm a little shell-shocked by the change. My recommendations are largely ignored. My boss is short-sighted and a micromanager - and he takes the credit himself when he is forced to implement my recommendations. I'm starting to realize I may have made a pretty big mistake.
 
I left my former employer on very good terms with even a few execs letting me know "The door is always open". I'm realizing now what a great management team I left and how much I was learning there. So I guess the question is obvious: Can I really go back? If so, when?
 
I appreciate any insight you can provide!
 
Answer:
You may have heard the expression, “You can never go back,” but don’t believe it. I know many people who have returned to their former company after testing the waters only to find they were filled with sharks.
 
In fact, you may be surprised how readily your former company will welcome you back. The reason? There is nothing quite as good for morale as a returning employee who will tell anyone who is complaining, “Hey, things aren’t as bad here as you think. I’ve been on the outside and I can tell you the grass isn’t always greener. That’s why I came back!” And when a high potential returns, a lot of people notice and it looks great for the company even if no one is complaining. The thought process goes something like this, “Wow, if a high potential like her comes back this place must be pretty good. After all, she could get a job anywhere.”
 
Contact those former executives now, before they forget how good you are. They may not have the perfect job open for you right now, but they may have something within the next few months and why not put your hat in the ring? They have invested in developing you and you already know the culture, so you aren’t a hiring risk. In fact, they may even try to create a new job for you, since they already know your strengths. You’ll never know unless you ask.
 
Dear Joan:
I love what I do, working in the IT department of a hospital with 2 other women, both younger than me, and a gentleman who is very close to retirement. Of the group, including my boss, I am the most educated. I took the position as a jump off to a bigger and better opportunity. In IT here you have to pay your dues before the analysts and informatics specialist jobs open to you. But I have hit a wall.
 
My coworkers seem very insecure, and the team spirit I have thought existed does not. They are out for their own interests exclusively, and rarely share key information that is critical to operations. So communication has broken down. Moral is down also. I just returned from a week off for vacation and they are "making me pay" for my time off by treating me coldly, so insecurity is at an all time high also.
I have tried to develop inroads with the ladies, only to get the frosty responses, blank stares, and shunning. I have tried to approach each of them and ask if I have done something, but they say no, turn around and go back to what they were doing... I have tried gentle kindness, and tried to overlook their exclusionary behavior, but it is very unsettling in a professional environment. My boss has too much on her plate to bring this to her attention - I have no clue what to do. Suggestions?
Answer:
This catty, immature behavior doesn’t deserve any more effort on your part. The problem may be insecurity or it may be that you have done something to turn them off, such as mentioning your education (which they might interpret as you feeling superior to them).
 
If you have offended them, you have done your best to try to right the wrong. Because you love your job, focus on that and forget about trying to make them like you. The more you try to bow and scrape the more power they will believe they have over you. If you continue to get great results, your star should continue to rise. However, if they are withholding information that is critical to your job performance, you owe it to your manager to tell her exactly what is going on.