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Going Back to an Old Job Isn’t the Worst

Unless you've really burned some bridges, it's possible that you'll eventually return to an old job one day. There are a lot of reasons why this could happen, but it doesn't have to be the most awkward of reunions – or a step backward for your career.

Unless you’ve really burned some bridges, it’s possible that you’ll eventually return to an old job one day. There are a lot of reasons why this could happen, but it doesn’t have to be the most awkward of reunions – or a step backward for your career.

return to old job 

(Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/Flickr)

What might surprise you

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Employers don’t mind welcoming an old team member back to the company. In a survey of over 1,800 human resource professionals, about 75 percent said they don’t mind bringing back old employees. Sixty-six percent of managers also said that would be cool. The ones with the most anxiety about coming back were the employees themselves, with 40 percent saying they’d be into returning to an old job.

Boomerangs are still hard to catch

Despite this happy vibe, only about 15 percent of employees surveyed said they’d returned to an old employer. Job hopping became less popular during the recession, for obvious reasons, but if the recession continues to dwindle in the rear view, you might see more old jobs cropping up again while you’re looking for a new job.

What you bring as a boomerang employee is inside knowledge about how things work at your old job. HR won’t have to take the time to train you on lots of details, and you’ll likely already know people and the ins and outs of the office culture. You’ll be able to hit the ground running.

So what makes a boomerang?

Sometimes people take time off from jobs to do crazy things like go to graduate school or have kids. Other times they take extended time away from full-time jobs to take care of older family members, or perhaps to travel with a spouse who gets temporarily transferred.

Maybe you just leave a job to pursue greener pastures that turn out to not be a permanent home. Perhaps you gain some skills elsewhere and come back to rule the roost at an old job. Maybe your old position wasn’t a great fit, but now there’s the perfect slot for you. There are a lot of possibilities.

How to get re-hired

1. Toot your own horn. The hiring manager should be made aware of how much you know about the industry — after all, you’ve covered that ground before. Make sure you talk up your insider knowledge.

2. Use those contacts. On good terms with your old boss? Talk to them before you apply so you can get a leg up on all the new applicants. If your boss isn’t around, use old co-workers to talk up the new guy or gal in charge and try to connect with them on a personal level. Get the scoop on who’s running things and what they’re like. You’ll want to make sure you’re ready for another round at the same company.

3. Be confident. You’ve done this before, maybe even with the same hiring manager. But now you’re better, stronger, and faster and ready to rock and roll.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever returned to an old job? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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