They want you! They need you! They tell you that no one can do the job but you! Boy, does that feel good. But somewhere deep down, you know it’s nothing you truly want a part of, even if they are saying everything you want to hear.
I work with people who are hatching their next career and many, many times the old/current job comes calling. It’s an easy way out of the hard work of finding the next gig, but should you go back?
How do you know if you’re being falsely seduced or if it’s a true opportunity?
Check Your Ego – Some flattery is obvious, but not all. You have to be honest with yourself and be aware of how the seducer is playing into your insecurities and needs. If part of your reason for leaving was feeling unappreciated and all of a sudden that need is getting stroked, you have to realize that it may not last once you go back.
Check Your Gut – Your Ego and Your Gut (intuition) are not the same animal. Your gut is more truthful and sensitive. However, when your ego is being courted and promised a panacea, the gut can be harder to hear. If the offer feels ‘icky’ (a very scientific term) in any way, take pause. What are your fears? What do you know wholeheartedly to be true despite what is being promised?
Make Your Demands – Even if it’s just as an exercise to decide whether to go back, if you’re considering it at all, make a list of what you need to feel good about it. Is it more money? Is it certain changes to your job description? Is it particular treatment, access to a certain person, or communication from a certain person? Looking at these answers may bring to light why you wanted to leave in the first place; then you can ask whether you can get what you clearly know you need.
Run or Suit Up – I’m working with a female executive right now who agreed to go back and together, we made the list of her demands. She is “suited up” and prepared to put firm boundaries in place so that her new requirements stick. It is dangerously easy for you or others to slip into old patterns because everyone is used to the precedents that were set in the past.
Retraining people on what you will and will not do and what they can expect is hard and takes discipline and consistency. It can be done, and this executive will give it some time and see if a positive change is possible.
If you know it just won’t work or be worth it, then RUN. Get away from that seduction like an antelope would run from a hungry lion.
If it’s a fight you can’t win, save yourself now. There’s no point delaying the inevitable. Know you will find the next thing and it WILL BE better.