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Long gone are the days of employees staying at a company for 30+ years. Though many of our parents were able to maintain long-term success and stability on their jobs up to retirement, I have noticed that many of my peers and colleagues have been employed by up to four different companies since graduating. This is in part due to the recession, but also can be attributed to many people believing that there may be better gigs out there for them.

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As more and more professionals have put off getting married and having children, many of us have had the convenience of picking and choosing where and how we want to work, due in part to fewer responsibilities. Along those lines, some changes in employment are made simply because another company is offering more money, flexibility and better assignments. However, what happens if you jump to a new job only to find it’s not what you expected and/or wanted? Is it ever too late to ask for your old job back?

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article:

“Bouncing back to a former employer after quitting isn’t the résumé killer it once was. People who have done it say it is often worth the humiliation of having to admit a mistake and beg former colleagues to take you back. Returning employees usually end up appreciating their jobs more. And their careers can emerge unscathed, if they give sound reasons for flip-flopping—and stay put for a while in their second stint.”

The industries experiencing the most instances of u-turns are design, tech, media agencies and consulting firms. Additionally, some employees in traditional fields catch the entrepreneurial bug, hang out their own shingle, and then, due to unforeseen circumstances or poor planning, seek to return to their old company.

However, in order to effectively return to a company that you have previously walked out on, many bosses want some sort of assurance that they will not get dumped again. “Employers have different rules about rehiring employees. A few ban the practice altogethe, to encourage loyalty. Many others classify departing employees as ‘eligible for rehire’ or not, based on performance,” says Paul Rubenstein, an executive at Aon Hewitt, a Lincolnshire, Ill., benefits-consulting firm.

The thought of pursuing your old job back may cause a sense of fear and embarrassment, but you can do it successfully by  owning up to any mistakes made, highlighting  new skills you may have acquired while away and, of course, simply asking for it.

Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates ( She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.

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