Have you ever left a position for greener pastures only to discover the pasture you were grazing in looks pretty good from the other side of the fence? Some departures are well thought out, while others are decided in a fit of emotional turmoil.
If you have ever left a job under the latter circumstance and are hoping for a chance to redeem yourself, take heart.
As you seek to find your way back in through the door you walked out of, you may consider the following five ways to give your efforts the best chance for success:
1. Reach out to former colleagues. If you have remained in touch with any former co-workers, use those relationships to ascertain whether or not you would even be welcomed back. There is a pretty good chance that your name has been mentioned since you left. What you need to know is in what context the mentioning was done. If you have been missed because of certain skills or abilities you possess, then go forward with your plans to re-apply. If, on the other hand, your ex-boss is still using a photo of you to adorn the office dartboard, you may want to give your quest a little more time or look in a new direction.
2. Prepare to explain yourself. If no. 1 went well, your next step should be to prepare yourself with answers to questions you will certainly be asked. Think of it in terms of your first interview with the company and how you prepared for that. The difference, of course, is they already know you, but they may not know fully why you left. You will be expected to answer that question satisfactorily, so spend some time with it beforehand. The second half of that question will undoubtedly be, "Why should we bring you back?"
3. Plead your case in person. DO NOT call, text, fax, or email the person you must appeal to gain re-entry. It is too easy for them to ignore these messages or to simply say, "No." It may also convey a weakness of character that is certain to diminish your odds. Unless your departure caused the issuance of a restraining order against you, make the effort to speak to your former employer in person. Don your most appropriate suit of clothes, and prepare to camp out in the reception area. Understanding before you enter the building that you may not be a top priority will help keep your attitude in check. Your willingness to plead your case in person, however, is certain to earn you points.
4. Leave your pride out of the discussion. You may have been the best (insert formerly held position here) the company ever had, but this is not a time for you to remind them of that. If it's true, they already know it. You run the risk of coming off as pompous and petty when you choose to use this as the main reason you should be considered for re-hire. Instead, focus on the lessons you've learned through your departure and how you plan to apply those lessons going forward.
5. Be open to taking a cut in pay or benefits. It may be painful at first, but it does show a willingness to work with an organization you may have left in a lurch. Besides, once you've regained their trust and respect, whatever cuts you may have agreed to initially typically will be restored in short order.
There are going to be times in your life when you make the wrong decision for the wrong reason. But there are few things that can't be corrected once the situation is honestly evaluated and met head-on. You have, no doubt, heard the old saying about "burning bridges." Well, just remember, a burnt bridge does not preclude building a new bridge to get back across to the other side.
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend, and is one of only 28 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally. Jacqui and her husband, "Sailor Rob," host a lively careers-focused blog at http://careertrend.net/blog. Jacqui is a power Twitter user (@ValueIntoWords), listed on several "Best People to Follow" lists for job seekers.