Is It Embarrassing to Go Back to Your Old Job: Secrets Revealed


Career Consultant & Blog Writer

Published: December 10, 2023

The perceived embarrassment of going back to your old job is a personal experience. It’s essential to recognize that career paths are rarely linear, and decisions should be based on your unique circumstances and aspirations. Overcoming societal expectations and embracing your professional journey can help mitigate any feelings of embarrassment.

In the ever-evolving landscape of career choices, individuals often find themselves at a crossroads, contemplating whether to return to a former job. This decision, however, is not without its share of complexities and emotional nuances. In this article, we will discuss the question: Is it embarrassing to go back to your old job?

Definition of job embarrassment

Returning to an old job often raises questions about one’s career trajectory and decisions. The fear of being perceived as indecisive or unsuccessful can lead to a sense of embarrassment. Understanding the root of this emotion is crucial to addressing it effectively.

Common reasons for returning to an old job

Before delving into the potential embarrassment, let’s acknowledge that there are valid reasons for revisiting a past workplace. Changes in personal circumstances, shifting priorities, or a newfound appreciation for the previous job’s positive aspects are all factors that might contribute to this decision.

The Stigma Surrounding Returning to an Old Job

Is It Embarrassing to Go Back to Your Old Job

A. Social perceptions

Society, in many instances, places a premium on upward mobility and linear career progress. Returning to a previous job may be viewed as a step backward, challenging societal norms and potentially inviting judgment from peers and acquaintances.

B. Internalized judgments

Individuals often internalize societal expectations, leading to self-judgment when considering a return to an old job. Overcoming these internal barriers is a vital step in making decisions aligned with personal growth rather than societal expectations.

Breaking Down the Stigma

Changing perspectives

It’s essential to challenge conventional views on career trajectories. Careers are rarely linear, and embracing a non-traditional path can open doors to unexpected opportunities. Viewing a return to an old job as a strategic move rather than a setback is a mindset shift that can alleviate embarrassment.

Embracing personal growth

Life is a journey of self-discovery, and career choices should align with personal development. Returning to a familiar environment can provide an opportunity to leverage newfound skills and perspectives gained during the time away.

The Decision-Making Process

A. Reflecting on the Reasons for Leaving

Before deciding to return, individuals need to reflect on the reasons that led them to leave in the first place. Understanding the motivations behind the initial departure is crucial for informed decision-making.

B. Evaluating Career Satisfaction

Assessing current career satisfaction is a pivotal step. If the previous job offered fulfillment and a sense of purpose, returning may not be as embarrassing as societal norms suggest.

C. Weighing the Pros and Cons

A balanced approach involves weighing the pros and cons of returning. Consider the growth and learning experiences gained since leaving and assess how they align with the present.

Practical Tips for Returning

Is It Embarrassing to Go Back to Your Old Job

1. Overcoming the Fear of Judgment

Addressing Societal Perceptions

Society’s expectations should not dictate personal choices. Overcoming the fear of judgment involves recognizing that career paths are not linear but rather a series of unique journeys.

Embracing Personal Growth

Returning to an old job can be a testament to personal growth. Acknowledge the lessons learned during the hiatus and appreciate the value they bring to your professional identity.

Learning from Experiences

Embrace the concept of life as a journey filled with twists and turns. Every experience contributes to growth, and returning to a previous job can be a valuable part of that narrative.

2. Open Communication with Former Colleagues

Transparent communication is key. Discussing the decision with former colleagues fosters understanding and minimizes any potential awkwardness.

3. Highlighting Growth and Skills Acquired

When returning, focus on the growth and skills acquired during the hiatus. Showcase how these experiences bring added value to the team.

4. Crafting a Compelling Narrative

Crafting a compelling narrative around the return emphasizes the positive aspects of the decision. Share the journey, emphasizing the desire for continued growth within the organization.

5. Dealing with Internal Struggles

Overcoming Self-Judgment

Internal struggles often stem from self-judgment. Overcoming this requires acknowledging personal growth and the validity of the decision to return.

Seeking Support from Mentors and Peers

Seeking support from mentors and peers helps in gaining perspective. External validation can ease internal conflicts and boost confidence.

6. Reassessing Career Goals

Aligning Personal Aspirations with Professional Choices
Reassess career goals to ensure they align with personal aspirations. Returning to an old job may be a strategic move in achieving long-term objectives.

7. Finding Fulfillment in the Present

Fulfillment is a dynamic concept. Finding contentment in the present, whether through a return or a new venture, is essential for professional satisfaction.

The Bottom Line

Returning to an old job should not be viewed through the lens of embarrassment. It is a valid and often courageous choice that reflects personal growth and a commitment to one’s professional journey. For individuals contemplating a return, this article serves as encouragement. Embrace the decision with confidence, recognizing that career paths are unique and personal.

Is It Embarrassing to Go Back to Your Old Job: FAQs With Answers

Does going back to an old job look bad?

Going back to an old job doesn’t inherently look bad. People make career decisions based on various factors, and returning to a previous workplace is a common occurrence. It’s essential to focus on the reasons behind the decision and how it aligns with your current career goals.

Is it embarrassing to go back to your old workplace?

The perception of embarrassment when returning to an old workplace is subjective and depends on individual perspectives. Societal expectations may contribute to this feeling, but it’s crucial to prioritize personal growth and satisfaction over external judgments. Embracing your unique career path can help alleviate any perceived embarrassment.

Is it normal to want your old job back?

Yes, it is entirely normal to want your old job back. People evolve, and circumstances change. If you find that your previous job aligns with your current career goals or offers a positive work environment, wanting to return is a valid and common sentiment.

Can I go back to my old job after quitting?

In many cases, yes, you can go back to your old job after quitting. However, it depends on the circumstances surrounding your departure and the policies of the company. Open communication with your previous employer about your intentions and any changes in your professional outlook is advisable.