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Returning to a Former Employer | Job Search Radio

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter discusses the pros and cons of doing so.


What are the pros and cons of returning to an old place of employment? The person continues by saying, "I was a small nonprofit for 10 years at a fairly high position. I left with some good and bad feelings. 7 years later, the top dog is leaving and I am being considered to replace him."

Let me just simply say that it depends on your definition of top dog. If you are going to be the head of the agency, you have a pretty blank slate and the only question really comes down to money and how much control you will have with relation to the board. If the board is the same, you may run into problems again. That's can be a tough decision for you. I can't advise you other than to lay out the cards in that way.

If your definition of "top dog" is you are a senior manager and reporting to a director who in turn reports 3 or 4 levels up again, you may run into problems. That's because you don't really have control of the circumstances. You still have some of that you are reporting to.

Again, you can go back and, again, 1 of the issues is always money. I'm not talking about your compensation; I'm talking about income at the nonprofit pedigree to which they are subordinate to government agencies or donations as part of their survival strategy or financial strategy. If income from the agency is problematic, you know what you're stepping into. If that was a problem then, it is probably going to be a problem now , especially if they tell you it's a problem!

You have to investigate the level that you're coming at, who you report to. If you are at the highest level, what your relationship with the board will be like. Is it the same board with whom there were issues before? What's the income stream for money coming in? What are the expectations of you given the money?

Those are a few things that I would consider. The benefit of going back is that often you are the situation where you are stepping in and able to continue building on retirement plans that you had. For example, there is a personally brought back toward the financial institutions years ago who was 7 years into a 10 year vesting for a pension. He was able to finish those 3 years off and thus retire with a pension plus a 401(k) and all because he was able to step in and continue making contributions and continue based upon the former scenario to finish off the pension.

Often, you know how the organization is run. You also then have shortcuts to getting things done because a lot of things really have changed. The advantages that you have is stepping into something familiar; the disadvantage can be what is familiar was a problem.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is an executive job search and business life coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

If you are an executive who is interested in 1 on 1 coaching, email me at JeffAltman(at)​.

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