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Calvin Asks: Should I go back to move forward?
I was always happy in my role as I’m not one to really dwell on the small things but over a year or so I became a little disheartened with my previous job, (lack of future opportunity, lack of help from the hierarchy and a general lack of ambition from the business). However I was well established within the business and did generally enjoy working there, therefore did not take the decision to leave lightly! I began the search and found a new role within a couple of months.

My new employer is ambitious, does have some “potential” route for progression and does “seem” to back its employees and the business. The new role is a big change in sector for me; I feel I’ve made the transition well and I figured it would make me a better engineer in the long run, depending on which sector I ultimately decide to work in. But having only been here a couple of months, I can’t help but get the general feeling I’m not really held in any real regard or totally trusted yet which I know will always take time. I’m used to being very busy with lots of travel whereas with my new role the work is small and fragmented, and although we do oversees work (one of the main attractions for me) I have barely left the office.

Anyway my previous employer has been in touch with me and due to some serious re-structure there is an opening for a very senior role of which I always had an ambition for. I feel like I could make a big difference there as long as the business changes its old ways in some certain aspects, of which I know will be hard but the business is small therefore I feel given I would be in the hierarchy I would be well positioned to make change.

For a number of reasons I can help but be attracted back to my old employer, but I’m a loyal person and can’t help but wonder how would people view such a quick succession of role moves?

Should I feel bad for my current employer or just view it as “look after No.1”?

Back to the Future - Oxford
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4 Replies
Simon Barker
711 Posts
If you've only been there a few months, you're probably still in a probationary period.  So they can get rid of you at short notice if you don't fit in.  But equally, you're free to leave if you decide the job isn't right for you.

Many years ago, I decided it was time to leave my employer.  But I rapidly realised that I was even less happy with the culture at the new one.  When I discovered that my old employer was hiring again, I applied and they took me on again.  I have now been back for nearly 24 years.

Forget loyalty.  Many employers won't show any loyalty to you if there's a business down-turn and they need to lay off staff.  That's the way modern businesses work.  It used to be the case that employers only laid off staff if they were making unsustainable losses.  Now they will lose staff if profits are slightly below market expectations.
Look after yourself and your own interests - it is your job and your life, so you make decisions to suit you and your circumstances. 

The big question is has your old company changed its ways or it is just a restructure and will the new position allow you to make big changes?  

As Simon has said, you have only been there a short time, so why not ask what potential projects are coming up and if you will be involved and what else you can be doing.

Good luck
Lisa Miles
1249 Posts
Definitely a dilemma!

I think you have to remember the reasons why you left in the first place and ask yourself what if anything will REALLY change even if you take up this offer of a new role? 

I'm not sure that you've given your current role enough time though. You mention that you've only been there for a couple of months and haven't yet earned the trust and respect of your new colleagues. That's going to take more time than just a couple of months! With the travel aspect too, some employers don't allow new staff to go on business trips (overseas or otherwise) until they've passed their probationary period. Maybe ask your Manager perhaps? 

Again it's a case of weighing up the potential and future opportunities your current employer may provide (and where they may lead you) against going back to your old employer and what if any future and potential opportunities lie there.

Just as an aside we do get ex members of staff return to the IET on occasion. Many say because the work we do here is rather unique and interesting and it brings them back, some return because the 'promises' of a new role doesn't always materialise and many come back and do something completely different to what they originally did!

I can't remember where it comes from but I always remember a saying: "It's better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb rather than half way up a ladder you don't.... "
2 Posts
I was once in a similar position to yourself. I actually spoke to a manager from my old company who was older (and wiser) than me, his advice was to wait 6 months before  judging your new position. I took his advice.. 9 years later I remain in my new company.

Good luck!


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