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I’m writing this as someone who has just done exactly that and I can safely say that earlier in my career I would never have thought of doing so. So why not? We all choose to leave a company for a reason and sometimes there are lots of reasons and sure there will be times when making a return simply is not appropriate. However, there are a number of very real advantages to going back to a place you have worked before. So how do you know if it is for you?
Moving jobs at any stage of your career is a big step and as we all know depends on a combination of factors unique to the individual. These factors are usually a combination of personal and professional motivators including quality/type/variety of work, people in the team, business structure, personal development, location/commute, starting a family and/or simply how much money it is possible to earn. Occasionally a move is dictated by unfortunate circumstances which can skew underlying motivators and steer a move in a specific direction but most often our own individual happiness (and sanity) is the overall aim. Governed by our own personal values and beliefs a move forms part of our own individual strategy to achieve happiness. The thing is, as you progress through your career and gain more experience (and unfortunately get older) these motivating factors almost always change. What motivates you may remain the same for one year or five years but over time we are shaped by our experiences and develop as human beings, as such motivating factors change.
Personally, if I think back in five year periods, I can see clear shifts in what motivated me and what I wanted to achieve in my personal and professional life. Looking back at the reasons I have left my previous employers, I know that if the ‘me of today’ was at those firms the reasons of yesterday almost certainly wouldn’t exist. There may of course be different reasons but the things that drove my desire for change would certainly be very different. We all leave one position for another that we think will be better in some way. Often the problems we associate with the role we are leaving may well improve in the new position, however, new issues typically present themselves and eventually a new position is sought.
Assuming someone has spent any length of time working for an employer something was going well, it was mutually beneficial and both parties were happy for a length of time – so if the employer / employee relationship did work, is it possible for it work again? Yes! Absolutely (if it worked in the first place). I am fortunate enough to see the proof around me on a daily basis. BCL Legal have taken a number of my peers back and in every case it has been a success. Of course this depends on the factors mentioned above but the reality is it is a common sense commercial decision for both sides. Both parties know what they are going to get, both parties (should) know why you parted company in the first place and both parties should be able to ascertain quite easily if there is an opportunity to learn, grow and benefit from working together again.
As a recruiter wherever appropriate I ask “would you go back to work for x law firm?”. The question is often met with a variety of responses, however, seeing how well it can work I genuinely believe it should never be dismissed immediately out of hand.