Tag Archives: reputation management

contact old employer

How to Return to My Old Employer

Q: I was wondering what may be the best way to approach acknowledging to a previous employer, that you made a mistake leaving your previous job. A year ago, I left a well paying consulting position with a large technology company to pursue another job. Unfortunately, the new job has not met my expectations and I now regret my decision to leave my previous employer.

Before leaving my previous employer, my director offered me another position that he thought would suit my skills, in order to keep me in the company. However, this position was not yet defined and thus I decided to leave. Now, a year later, I regret this decision and should have been more patient and pursued this opportunity.

Do you think it’s worth while contacting this director or should I just forget about this? Curious to hear what you think.


contact old employer

Maikel, thanks for your question.  The short answer is absolutely contact the director.  What do you have to lose?  Just because you left an employer doesn’t mean they don’t want you back.  And it sounded like you left on good terms.  They may no longer have the same open position as an year ago, but it will always help your chances if you proactively reconnect with this director and tell him or her you are interested in returning.  

The best way to contact this director is by email.  This way it gives you a chance to craft your message.   Approach him or her honestly.  Tell him or her what you told me and ask to see if there are any opportunities currently.   Also be persistent.  If you don’t hear back from the first email, follow up with another email or on Linkedin.  Sometimes emails goes into SPAM by accident and people are busy.  It is your job to make the effort to follow up if you want to reconnect successfully with an old employer.

At the end of the day, even if he or she doesn’t have anything right away, you at least reconnected so this director can keep you in mind for future openings.    Here are two articles with real life stories that can also help you.  

Best wishes and let me know how it goes.

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Saying No at Work – When and Why to Do it

Knowing why, when, and how to say no at work is essential to your career success and work life balance.    We may not want to say no at work for fear of not being liked or worse – being fired.  This is simply NOT TRUE especially when you learn how to say no tactfully.  Before we can talk about how to say no, let’s get on the same page about why and when you should be saying no at work and how this can benefit both you and your employer.

Why Say No at Work – Here are 4 key benefits

  1. Protect your work reputation – Saying yes at work is not always good for you.  If you said yes and then did a poor job because you had too much work then not only do you NOT get any credit for saying yes, but your reputation for doing quality work will be damaged.
  2. Maintain high productivity – Once you learn how to say no tactfully, saying no will lower your stress level and keep you balanced and productive for all the work you still have on your plate.
  3. Increase work enjoyment  – It’s hard to enjoy work if you are constantly overwhelmed.  By saying no sometimes, you can maintain a healthy work load and better enjoy the work you do.
  4. Respect for your word  – By judiciously saying yes or no to extra work, you can build a reputation for being your word and avoid easily being dumped on.  When you say yes, the work you return will be stellar.  When you say no, you have a good reason and people will respect you regardless.

When to Say No at Work – While it’s absolutely okay to say no at work, you will have to do it selectively.  It’s not healthy for you to say yes all the time, but it’s also career limiting if you said no all the time.  Here are 6 key considerations to help you decide when you should say no.  Remember there are benefits/consequences to saying yes or saying no.  It’s up to you to decide based on your career aspiration, health condition, and goals in life.

  1. Level of experience – if you are young or have limited experience at your current job, then you may want to error on the side of saying yes most of time.  It’s called paying up front to build a reputation for having a good attitude and willing to take on extra work.
  2. Quality – Can you complete this extra work at a high quality?  Can you still deliver the other work you have at a high quality?  Remember low quality work will affect your reputation even if you said yes.
  3. Stress Level – will taking on this extra work significant increase your stress level?  Are you already overwhelmed at work?  Having you burnt out will not help you or your employer
  4. Business reason – Do you have a good business reason for saying no?  An example of a good business reason is that this work is dependent on another piece of work and that one is not completed yet.   You should never turn down work for the sole reason that you don’t like the work or you don’t like the person requesting it.
  5. Frequency –  Is this a one-time urgent request?  If so, maybe saying yes is okay as it is temporary.  But if this extra work is a frequent request, then consider it carefully and decide
  6. Requester – who is asking you to take on this extra work?  Can their impression of you affect your work reputation?   What is your reputation with this requester already?  If they already think you are a “star” then they are more likely to accept a “no” if you have a good reason.

Stayed tuned for the next article on How to Say No at Work – 5 Tips.

Your comments:  Do you agree that it’s wise to sometimes say no at work? I look forward to your comments.

– Lei

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How to Communicate Bad News to Your Manager

I don’t have to tell you that not everything at work is always smooth sailing. Sometime things are delayed, mistakes are made, wrong numbers are published. It may be your fault, it may be a bad circumstance, or a combination of both. What do you say when your boss wants a progress report and things are not going so well?

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