Want My Old Job Back

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about promotion, new boss, and feeling of uncertainty: I want to get the previous job back because I have given it a lot, even though I have made some mistakes in the past

I have been working in a large scale company for two years in a mid-level managment position. Two months ago I was called in to the office of my boss with whom I have a very open relationship. He explained to me about a new department that was going to be opened world wide and that I was thought of being a part of this department. I was happy at first and glad to be away from heavy operational work load that I was holding for two years and I told him that I was going to be happy to work with him in this position.

However, as time passed, I did not receive any formal notification and training I was left on my own as if they were waiting for me to come to them and say “I quit”. Each time I talk to him he is always motivating but I found out that he was leaving the country and going to be transferred to HQ. The new director has not even talked to me once to see what I was doing. This leaves me all alone and the duties that is expected of me is not going fine because I am having hard time adapting to new job. I have no direct reports left, no one is asking what is happening, I am trying to stick my nose into information from the previous position but I am unable to draw information because it is kept as if it is a secret.

Currently my previous position is managed by my former peer. We used to manage the position together as being the local manager (me) and him as being the ex-pat manager. Every thing became secret now and I am having so much difficulty staying on track. The previous position was the administration management and now I work as quality assurance person who is in charge of administration and other platforms such as HR, IT and legal but I don’t know much about any of them. I want to know if this is a strategy which pushes me to leave the company. I want to get the previous job back because I have given it a lot, even though I have made some mistakes in the past. However, when you look at the big picture, one can see the change and improvement which I have contributed highly. What do you suggest I can do? I want to talk to Regional HR director and get his opinion. Do I have a chance or am I waiting for the dead end?

Signed, Left Out and Nowhere To Go

Dear Left Out and Nowhere To Go:

Apparently you weren’t asked if you wanted the new position, you were told you were being given a new position. And, to be honest, it sounds as though you were demoted, but your former boss didn’t want to make it sound so bad as that. Even if the title and pay are similar, having direct reports taken away from you is a strong indicator that upper management felt your work was not so valuable that they couldn’t consolidate it and let the former manager have it alone. It might have had more to do with saving money on managers than on moving you out personally.You say you had a few problems but you think they should be able to see the improvement. It may be that they DO see the improvement and are giving you a chance to show it further. Or, it could be that is still a problem. You won’t know until you talk to someone about it. But it would seem your Director is the person who would have the most direct information.

It’s only been two months since you were placed in your new position, but since you feel you are being ignored, I can imagine that it’s discouraging. However, it would seem to me that the issue is not to try to get your old job back but to show what you are capable of in this new job. You don’t say you can’t do it at all, just that it isn’t what you’re used to. So, perhaps you should try to give yourself another few months, with some focused plans of action, and see what you can do to improve not only your work but your reputation, if you think that is an issue.

If you don’t want to talk to your director right now, consider contacting your former boss, with whom you had a good relationship, and ask him if he has thoughts on how you could either move back to your former work (you might not get to be a manager though) or how you could overcome any problems that led to you being moved. If he quickly assures you that you are highly thought of and you weren’t demoted, at least you will feel better about that. If he doesn’t do that, you’ll know you have some work ahead to regain your former status and reputation.

If he seems to think you have a very positive future there, ask him about what he would suggest for making sure you have a better working relationship with the new director.I would guess he will tell you to ask the new director for time in which you could talk to him about work, rather than waiting for the new director to talk to you. The new director is probably more busy than you are at this point and may feel you aren’t interested. Showing that you’re concerned about work is always welcome to most upper managers, because they like to know that employees want to do well. Your new director might appreciate having a written report on the functions of your work, what is going on right now and what is happening that could benefit the company or harm it.As for trying to find out what is going on at your last job, I think you should stop doing that.

There is nothing worse than for someone to leave but they keep showing up, calling, poking around for information, etc. That group has moved on to new things and you should as well. If they need you there and realize you should return for the good of the group, they’ll ask for you. It’s hard to go through this kind of change, but it happens to many people and sometimes it just has to be accepted. Rather than wonder and worry if they’re trying to tell you to quit or if you’re going to be stuck in a job you hate forever, talk to the person who is most likely to know–your Director. If you feel you must, go ahead and talk to the regional HR director as you mentioned, but try to keep the focus of wanting to do well wherever you are, not just on wanting to go back to where you were. Best wishes with this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.