Getting the Old DevJob Back: Tips and Tricks

Getting the Old DevJob Back: Tips and Tricks

Let's say you're looking for a new job and it occurs to you that the - proverbial - grass isn't greener on the other side after all. You want the old job back, but is that even possible? There's no shame in wanting to go back to a previous employer. With that in mind, here are some tips and tricks that might help on your way back to your old office chair.

Before approaching your old employer, there are a few considerations. First, and most obviously, does the company have an open position? Perhaps the old seat hasn't been filled yet, or a similar one has become available. You certainly don't want to come across as the person who is rushing back into the old job, even though there hasn't been a vacancy for a long time.

Also, be objective about whether or not you gave the current employer a fair shot. Company cultures can be different and roles are sometimes not what you envision during the application process. However, sometimes it's worth waiting until you feel comfortable in the new job.

Finally, you should also ask yourself whether the work in the previous job was really that much more fun and whether you fit in so well with the corporate culture. Sometimes you quit for the strangest reasons without knowing that this was actually the ideal job. So the question is: did you fit in so well with your old job?

If you answer all these questions with a clear tendency, you could get the old job back with the following guiding principles:

"The learning curve will be very fast"

You know the system; you've seen all the funny training videos and you know that the restroom on the third floor is usually less often occupied. The Chinese takeaway around the corner doesn't deliver all the way to the office, and the afternoon sun is pretty unbearable in the northeast part of the building.

Yes, you know it all by now.

You also know which reports get sent to which manager, how the software stack works, and how to keep the morning stand-up meetings from coming to a complete standstill.

Position yourself as a piece of the puzzle that could seamlessly fit back in, and you'll get the attention of your old boss as well as HR.

"When rehiring a former employee, the amount of time spent on onboarding is greatly reduced, and time-consuming and costly activities such as interviews, training, and integration into the company culture are almost completely eliminated."

"I gained valuable experience."

If you've been away from your previous job for a year or more, you can make the argument that you gained valuable experience away from home. However, it can be difficult to get this point across properly: You're basically saying someone else gave you a chance to develop in a different way - your old boss didn't.

Even if that's the case, it can still sound convincing if you want that job back, which you learned to appreciate better by working elsewhere. Any kind of experience is positive, no matter where or how it was gained.

"I know where I'm coming back to".

Let your superiors know that you now have a much better appreciation for the value of your old company. Whether it's culture, stability, the software stack, the process, or all the little benefits, make sure you can also tell them exactly what was - or is - so important to you.

Going back to where you've been before may well lift your motivation to do better. It's okay to admit that you didn't know what you had until it was gone, and that leaving was a mistake. If former supervisors are already considering getting back in touch with you, chances are they feel similarly about your absence.

A bonus tip

You want back, chances are good for a conversation, now there's only one thing to avoid: Begging.

Present your return as a win-win for you and the company, but still make sure it doesn't sound like you're in a completely bad place at your current job. You're a value-added new hire, not someone who desperately hates your current job. Your return, after all, is something exciting, not a signal that you're coming back with your tail between your legs.

In other words, you and your old company need each other equally. That's how the discussion should be framed, too. Neither side is in a position to negotiate with heavy guns; rather, a mutually agreeable solution should be found that meets both needs.

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