Well, just like they teach you as a kid to stop, drop and roll if you are ever on fire. The same concept should apply when asked to come back to a former workplace: Stop what you are doing. Drop your jaw. And think of something really good to say to roll right out of that conversation. Save it for later and give it some time to think before you speak!
It’s been a little over 2 years since I left my former workplace. I haven’t regretted it yet. Since then, I’ve been contacted 3 times to come back. Nope, not a typo. 3. Are they hoping 3rd times a charm? I didn’t burn any bridges when I left. And still randomly text my former boss as we are still respectable colleagues and he keeps me updated on the happenings in our former area. They’ve had 3 people in my position since I’ve left. None have stayed. That should speak volumes how “amazing” my former job was. I didn’t quit my bosses like most people did. I finally quit because the job didn’t match my current stage in life. There’s also many things wrong with the position I was in at my former workplace. But, it’s beyond current management’s control and we won’t get into those other things right now.
Let’s take a moment and examine the work and life balance, which are the main parts of the conversations I’ve had, and you can have with your former workplace too if they call. If you a part of the normal operating workforce (not striving for financial independence & early retirement), I believe your working years can be divided into 3rds. Or, even quarters for those that work into their 70s. Dang, more power those of you who want to do that! Today we are going to examine these stages in life and how to answer that awkward moment question when your former workplace says, “Hey. We really miss you. Your old job is open. Again. Will you come back?”
20s – 30s:
In your 20s – early 30s, generally you are working on paying off debt as priority numero uno. Establishing yourself in your field and maybe bouncing to a few areas to gain as much as experience as you can under your belt. You either become tired of your workplace, or outgrow it. And move on.
30s – 40s:
During this phase, you’ve likely worked in enough jobs you know what you want to do, and what you don’t want to do. Or, where you don’t want to work nor who to work for. 😉 And strive to find jobs to narrow your specialty to be doing what you want to be doing, all the time.
These years can be hard. Likely you’ve taken care of your student loans, but then BAM! Get hit with a mortgage and a bigger car to tote those kids around to daycare or their school events (don’t forget those costs!). Lifestyle creep begins to happen, you realize life is short, you want to maximize the most out of your time and day with what you want to be doing and spending it with. So a job, that you love or tolerate and are comfortable in, can be one of your best matches while trying to balance it all.
40s, 50s and 60s?
Since I’m not in this phase of life yet, I can’t elaborate too much on personal experience. But, based upon the observation of close friends and coworkers, this is the phase you have the least patience for being supervised and micromanaged by others. Generally, you know your shit and you don’t like to be told how to do it either! You are pretty aware of your surroundings, you may not like change as much, but if you are a successful individual, you adapt to change like geese heading north in the summer and south in the winter.
If you thought your 30s and 40s were tough, buckle up buttercup for this phase in life. Recently, while listening to the radio driving to work there was a trivia question, “what age group is the least happiest in life?” I immediately thought 30s due to the sleep-deprivation/crazy work mode. Nope. I was wrong. They said 51-54. I was at first surprised, but, due to the reasons they listed, I completely agree. I reflected on many people in my life at this phase. A 52 year old friend who always took pride in her natural athletic ability her whole life, sustains an unbelievable leg injury, is unable to work out and another super depressing factor for her: starts going through menopause. A 51 year old family friend who gets diagnosed with breast cancer. One of my supervisors who committed suicide last fall was 51. The list went on and on.
And many other situations that made me agree, “Sure, this can be the unhappiest phase in life. But it doesn’t have to be.”
Quick Tips & Resources To Keep Every Stage In Life Happy
- Have a personal project, something to own, look forward to. Graham over at Reverse the Crush lays it out pretty sweetly how a “personal project can be created in 3 simple steps—find your passion, match it with your skillset, and start a blog about it to perfect your craft.”
- Find alternatives, inspiration and motivation. The Fin$avvy Panda does all of that and enlightens us with 8. Things You Need To Do When You Hate Your Job (But Can’t Quit) and to surround yourself with quotes that will help you achieve success and happiness
- Over the years working in the IT arena, Mr. Defined Sight knows how to Avoid Burnout and Recharge his batteries. As well as creating and finding Momentum whenever you can in life to create enough wins to keep things moving positively.
- Declutter your life and practice the value of Self Care
- You don’t have to be religious or have a religion, but at least find some faith. PLEASE DO THIS!
Recap: That Awkward Moment When Your Former Workplace Wants You Back…Whatever Shall You Do?!
Getting back to the subject of this post, it’s a good reminder that if or when you receive this phone call, to truly evaluate again why you left there and if it was still a good decision. Here’s a reminder of what to do:
- Stop, Drop and Roll right out of the conversation.
- Think before you speak to avoid burning bridges.
- Examine your current stage in life again to see if it is still the same as when you left.
- Tactfully remind them unless the position has changed, it doesn’t match your current stage of life; explain to them what that is if needed.
- Wish them a Magical Disney Day.
Readers: what are your most awkward phone calls received and how do you field them? Or, what stage of life are you in and can you offer some more tips to be happy in each stage of life?