Getting Your Old Job Back After a Layoff

Getting Your Old Job Back After a Layoff
By DENNIS NISHI, WSJ
As companies’ hiring freezes start to thaw, many laid-off individuals may see a chance to regain a position in their old companies. The odds of getting an old job back are better if you were let go for budgetary reasons and the company outlook has improved. But if a position was lost as part of a restructuring or consolidation, it may not be worth the effort. Here are a few things to consider if you’re trying to get your old job back.

• Do a self assessment. Be honest with yourself. “Sometimes there is some selectivity in who is laid off,” says Jerald Jellison, a psychologist and professor of social psychology at the University of Southern California who specializes in the workplace. “Maybe there’s something in there that you need to understand about how people at the company perceived you.” He recommends asking yourself whether you created any bad feelings when you left.

Also consider …

• Improve yourself. Consider what the company will need as conditions improve. If you were a marketing manager, return to the job with a new angle of attack that can help make the company more competitive.

Tap your inside connections. If you’re still on good terms with former peers that have kept their jobs, ask them how things are now relative to when you were there. Get up to speed on any other news that can help you understand key personnel changes or staffing needs says Ruth K. Liebermann, Managing Director of Boston-based HR Insourcing LLC.

“Contact your former boss and let him [or her] know that you’re interested,” says Ms. Lieberman.

• Put your boss at ease. It’s important to assure the management that you harbor no bad feelings about being laid off and are eager to return to work. If you’re trying to persuade a new boss to bring you back into your old job, focus on your accomplishments and get references to back up your claims. Emphasize your familiarity with internal processes and your openness to learn new ones.

• Don’t be discouraged. You may end up being paid less than before and given more work. “You have to consider the market conditions and not what you think of as being fair,” says Paul Glen, a management consultant from Los Angeles.. “Everybody is taking pay cuts and losing benefits. That will change as the economy improves.”

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