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I have started a new job in a new company. I left my previous job because I felt I was being ignored and quite frankly I did not feel valued.

I have been in this new Job just under a month and I have found that the work is not what I expected. It's very very simple and I like working hard so I am very bored.

My Ex-Employer asked me to come back and work for him and in turn I am going to be getting additional Benefits (Teleworking) + Salary Increase.

So what do I tell my current employer? I came to this employer because of all the reasons I mentioned above and they knew that I was being treated like crap. But I feel its rather unprofessional to run back to the other company.

So I am intending on just saying I am going to look after my 'Sick' Mum and that I will start looking into working some freelance. (I did not say my mother was not sick? She has had 2 falls and several collapsed lungs among other problems)

Do you think this is a valid excuse. How else can I leave here with my head held high?

The reason I am going back as many have asked is because I am starting a life and I have a new girlfriend and family issues. And to be honest although I did not feel valued at least I could tell my boss of my annoyance and hate rather than bottle it up.

As a wise friend once said (Take the Money)

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Were you satisfied with the kind of work you were assigned in your previous company.? –  Sahil Mahajan Mj Nov 21 '12 at 11:29
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You left your previous job because "I felt I was being ignored and that quite frankly I did not feel valued". You are going back because " I am going to be getting additional Benefits (Teleworking) + Salary Increase". Those two don't seem to add up. –  DJClayworth Nov 21 '12 at 14:31
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I think it's more unprofessional to lie about having a sick mother than telling your company the truth about your satisfaction with your current job. –  Zoot Nov 21 '12 at 17:52
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Tell them the truth; That you've had a better offer. They'll be annoyed, but it can't be helped. It's odd that your immediate thought is to lie so you can leave "with your held high"(!). In that situation, your head might be high, but your feet will be walking the lowest path. Be a man and take responsibility for your actions! –  Django Reinhardt Nov 21 '12 at 22:59
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Definitely never pretend a close family member is ill when they aren't. That's bad karma dude! But seriously, I once worked with a guy who pretended his wife had cancer and then pretended she had died(!). We all thought he was the scum of the earth. –  Tom Chantler Nov 21 '12 at 23:48

9 Answers 9

up vote 94 down vote accepted

OK, if you're set on leaving and nothing will change your mind - then I guess my best guidance is "Don't lie!". Lies have an unpleasant way of catching up with a person and if you are intent on being a valued member of a challenging profession, I can almost guarantee you that you'll meet up again with former collegues in a future position. The world is a lot smaller than it seems. You don't want to have to try to remember this lie forever. If you really don't feel comfortable saying "this work isn't what I hired on for, I'm so bored I'm going back to my old position", then be vague and just say you've found a better option.

I think it's worth taking a second to ponder, though, why you are reluctant to tell the truth in this case. Leaving after a month is a pretty short span of time in a position in which you were hoping for a challenge. Not many jobs will throw you immediately into a realm of work that is so complicated you could fail at it, so often the first month is a proving ground where you're not challenged, but you're expected to learn and challenge yourself to the point where you can be more useful later on. Leaving because the company was cautious in assigning you complicated work in your first month is pretty abrupt. Have you talked to your manager about your boredom and dissatisfaction?

I'm pointing this out, because it seems like a disconnection with management is a key aspect to both of your job transitions. In the first job you mention feeling undervalued and ignored. In the second job you mention being bored, and the fact that you're leaving suggests that you don't anticipate that problem ever changing. Then you also mention symptoms of what I'd call "management disconnect" - you're leaving after a month, you don't want to tell your employer the real reason why, and the old job is hiring you back with a better offer (so I'm betting they have always valued you - whether you realized it or not). It sounds like in all these cases, there's a pattern where you aren't so clear with your management about what you really want. Managers are not mind readers - so if you haven't directly expressed dissatisfaction with either job, it's unreasonable to expect that they will know it.

My point here is that the trend of feeling underchallenged, undervalued, and ignored is going to continue in any job if you don't have a way of expressing these concerns to your management. If the old job is just a better balance for you overall, then go for it, but realize that no matter where you land, it sounds like there's got to be a better way of expressing your needs that doesn't involve changing jobs.

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Funny I read money as the primary motivation for leaving both... reguardless of the terms the OP used it sounds like money is the primary motivator. Words like "not valued", salary increase seem to be in the primary motivators for taking the moves. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Nov 21 '12 at 15:06
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+1 for digging down into the root issues –  Phil Nov 21 '12 at 19:15
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I agree.. The reason I left is because i was too scared to goto my previous employer with the problems I have had. More recently both I and my previous boss have shared our views and we are both happy with the outcome. When I said undervalued I felt that I was the strongest person in the team but I knew i was not the best paid in the team when you stumble upon peoples salarys in a public network drive it hurts. –  TheMonkeyMan Nov 29 '12 at 10:05
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"too scared". Face that instead of just hopping jobs - your resume will end up pretty bad pretty quickly. And not having the best pay is related to your negotiation skills which comes back to the "too scared to face the management". –  Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Oct 10 '13 at 12:46

If you didn't like the work in your previous company, were feeling ignored or under valued then I don't think any of these things change with teleworking or a salary increase.

Salary increases bring temporary happiness, they won't keep you in the job if you didn't want to be there in the first place. Teleworking is likely to leave you even more isolated.

As for lying, don't do that - don't tell them where you're going if you don't want to but just say "it's not working out for me, I'm feeling very under utilised" and leave it at that.

The question I'd ask myself if I was you:

If your new company wasn't boring you, would you consider going back? If the answer is No (and I suspect it is) then going back is a convenience, it's not what you want to do and it's almost certainly a bad idea.

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Only thing I would add - talk to you current boss about your situation. Maybe he has less boring work but doesn't realize you wanted it. –  DJClayworth Nov 21 '12 at 15:15
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+1 for not lying –  Joshua Drake Nov 21 '12 at 16:52
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Often we may feel undervalued, but when your boss says "please come back, well bend over backwards for you and pay you more" it dramatically validates our value. –  rambo coder Nov 27 '12 at 4:08

First, I would not lie about going home to look after your "Sick Mum." There is no reason to do so and it will just make you look immature and unprofessional.

I would simply explain to your employer that that tasks that you are being assigned are not challenging or interesting. You had the expectation that you would be provided with challenging work so that you could grow professionally. Since you are not able to get that in the position you are in you are going to move on.

I would not tell your current employer anything about your plans for the future. Simply thank them for the opportunity and apologize for it not working out. Most positions have a 30-90 day probation period anyway. That is a two way street.

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+1 For do not lie. Not only can this damage your reputation with this company, but it can wind up affecting future employment if word spreads around that you are dishonest. –  Paul Brown Nov 21 '12 at 14:06
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You can avoid telling the truth without lying. For example, consider statements like: "I don't feel that I fit well into this organization", or "My skills are not ideally matched for the current projects and those in the foreseeable future." Nobody can easily argue with these; they are not falsifiable statements. –  Kaz Nov 21 '12 at 21:17
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@Kaz - Why not just tell the truth? I do not see how it is any more damaging than your suggestions. In fact the skills match thing makes it seem like you are lacking. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Nov 21 '12 at 22:15
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It's okay to seem like you're lacking, when you're leaving the place. It's just a version of "it's not you, it's me" and nobody really believes it. –  Kaz Nov 21 '12 at 22:49
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@Kaz, No amount of reasoning can justify a lie. A lie is at the end of the day a 'lie' –  saji89 Nov 22 '12 at 14:23

One of the things I've learned in my many travels throughout the corporate world is that people will do anything or say anything to get what they want or to get you to do what they want.

Let's start with your ex-employer. Why didn't they offer you those things while you were working for them? It would have been far less expensive for them to give you the added benefits and options while you were still their employee than to have to go through the trouble of letting you leave and then bring you back under this "new arrangement". We won't even factor in the added cost of trying to find someone to replace you, plus the likelihood that your replacement will require a higher salary than the one you ended with. We also need to include the time it will take for a new employee to learn the business, which is mostly unproductive until they come up to speed. So, in a nutshell, it is far cheaper for them to bring you back by telling you exactly what you want to hear than to bring someone in brand new. Unfortunately, it will be more costly for you in the long run. Once you tell your current employer you are leaving, you are basically locked into making it work with your ex-employer. But, your ex-employer knows you very well, and knows which buttons to push to get you to do what they want, much like an ex-spouse or ex-significant-other.

If you don't have projects of your own which can supplement the need for challenge that you seek, why not have the conversation with your current employer about the lack of challenge you're experiencing? I find it difficult to believe that any employer would not relish the opportunity to give someone more work without having to directly compensate them for it. After you have that conversation, if you really don't feel that this company is a good fit for you, continue the job search and try to find something more compatible. This time, however, spend a little more time crafting your interview questions for your potential employer so you can find a more compatible fit.

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Don't lie - why would you even want to lie about it? Your new employer is not your mother - you don't need to worry about hurting his feelings... business is business. If you don't tell them why you're leaving after such a short time, they aren't going to realize that they may be giving the wrong impression about what the job responsibilities are. Also, they may be able to alter your job duties to make the job more suitable for you.

But you should think long and hard about whether or not the old company is someplace you want to go back to - if they ignored and didn't value you when you worked for them, are you sure they will treat you better now that they are paying you more money and giving you extra benefits? Or are they using you to fill in the gap that was left when you leave to give them time to fill in the gaps using existing employees, then they'll start treating you the same (or just outright fire you).

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Your situation is similar to Get a raise to match another job offer. In that question, the OP has an offer in hand, and wants to know what to do. In your case the original company is trying to convince you to come back.

You face the same problems: you were unhappy before, and now they are offering you something that they promise will solve the problems. There are risks: they can lie, they will treat you like somebody that can't be trusted.

You are giving up on a new company after a month. That will have to be something to explain on your resume. That will show you have no patience.

If you are telling a lie to the new company, you are by definition not leaving with your head held high.

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I don't expect much support for either of the following ideas, given the prevailing answers, but going to toss them out here nonetheless, because it gives the OP something else to consider:

First, what is the term of committment to the current employer? Is it a contract position, and if so, is it short term? If it is a short-term contract, finish it, and communicate that to your old boss. While it puts him in a temporary bind by having a vacant spot, it leaves an opportunity to return to the old job while still fulfilling your committment to the current employer. In this way, you will probably gain respect at both places, regardless of what you decide to do after the contract is up.

Second, depending on what stage of your career you are in, I might suggest that you keep it simple, and follow the money, especially if neither job is noticibly more fulfilling than the other. If the job isn't rewarding from a personal growth or inpirational level, find a hobby that is. It is great when you can find work that is personally gratifying, but its not easy; and a personally gratifying job is often one that makes it harder to pay the bills or support a lifestyle outside of work that you would otherwise enjoy. The jobs that give both are out there, but that doesnt mean you can just drop whatever you are doing and go get them tommorow.

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Others have already said that an old employer who didn't make you happy previously is not likely to make you happy upon returning... at least if the job is essentially the same, so I won't go any further on that point.

A point I will make is that one month isn't a long time in a new job. For differing reasons (in one case waiting for a background check to get transferred) I've been in a couple jobs that long before I was even assigned real work; one of those cases eventually turned out to be one of the most challenging, but also most rewarding, jobs I've had. I've known some people who've waited over a year to have an extensive background check completed before actually being allowed to do the work for which they were hired.

That said, if you are really set on leaving, I recommend you tell the truth, but how much is up to what impression you want to leave. I'd say your options are to tell them some combination of:

  1. You've decided to leave.
  2. You're unhappy with your work assignments.
  3. Your old employer wants you back and you are going back to them.

If you're really going to leave, #1 is mandatory. #2 will explain why you're leaving after such a short time and may help them in the future; however, it could also make them wonder why you didn't say anything about being under utilized thus leaving a poor impression of you. #3 is more explanatory about what you're going to do, but also bears the risk of leaving the impression that you just used them to squeeze your old employer for a raise and better working condtions. You'll have to decide if those risks are a problem and what you might want from this employer in the future.

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So by telling the truth you'd be establishing that you were overqualified and they can search less hard and pay the next guy less? Sure it's a bit of a setback to have to search twice but I suspect unless your boss is crazy, s/he's going to appreciate the honesty or be a bit cold/stiff and then most likely appreciate the honesty later. If their response is shrieking bat!@#$ crazy, you get a new story to tell that would leave anybody sympathetic and amused. The end.

The only thing I'd be worried about is whether you've properly assessed the experience at your previous job and your perception of what's actually changed. Feeling undervalued and ignored is typically a culture mismatch thing and I doubt you'll find that's changed when you go back. They might like what you can do for them but for whatever reason, they didn't care what you had to say about it. Will you be one of the cool kids when you go back? I doubt it. If you really, really love telecommute + more money to the point where that trumps the old problem, go for it but don't assume the old problem fixed itself.

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