I am a senior software engineer now and I recently joined a new company after 4 years stint at old one where I was promoted.. The reasons for quitting are mainly lack of real development and the toxic environment due to a new manager. I had only mentioned my reason for quitting as "I want to specialize in software development'.

Basically I left on good terms and subsequently been contacted by 2 managers from my ex company to come back. They told me that they will offer Team Lead role with some additional responsibilities. They might also change the boss but not guaranteed. For me, The role is okay to take up since I was doing the team lead role unofficially before. I told them that I am interested but only after some time.

Now I am evaluating the pros and cons.

Pros of current company: The current company has scope for development , less chaos, more learning opportunities, good work-life balance and good pay.

Negatives: Very senior team and scope of promotion is only technical,

Pros of Ex-Company Team Lead Responsibility, more chaos, Known work and people, decent work-life balance, decent pay but not as good as my current

Of late, the idea of going back to the old company is stronger since I feel I am wanted there more. I also upgraded by doing a 1 year technical course to broaden my skill set and feel I can contribute more if I rejoin. Obviously, the team lead position and higher pay raise are main reasons also.

I appreciate if someone help me to see the big picture. Here are my questions in essence

  1. Is a short work span of 5-6 months will look bad?
  2. As a career choice, which carries more weight team lead path or the senior/principal engineer path?. I am okay with both.
  • Maybe you could clarify. You say you were doing "the team lead role unofficially before" but you left. Now you would be going back to do the same thing, officially? What is the difference? Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 8:55
  • I was promised a team lead role in the next appraisal but I was doing team lead role with same pay and no role change. but with the new boss and my earlier aspirations to do more handson coding made me leave the job
    – T-Rex
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 9:01

3 Answers 3


They might also change the boss but not guaranteed.

Do not go back unless that part is stipulated in your contract.

You said it yourself. You felt he was a bad boss and he was creating a toxic environment. Why would you want to go back to that?

If you're going to accept a pay cut, make it count. I get the feeling that they only hinted at the possibility that you might get a different manager just to get you back on board.

If you're looking for a more challenging job, keep on looking for a new employer. You certainly do not have to stay at your current one if you don't feel you're being challenged.

Take a look at it from this perspective: Now that you've tried this new job, you have a better idea of what to look for and what to ask during interviews to screen out this type of situation in the future.


Which job to take, is your choice. You know the pros and cons, weigh them and take the decision. However, to answer your direct questions:

  1. Is a short work span of 5-6 months will look bad?

If it's the only one, or rare one, then no.

  1. As a career choice, which carries more weight team lead path or the senior/principal engineer path?. I am okay with both.

Either, or none - whichever way you see it. Usually the designation (of a particular organization) hardly matters, what actually matters is your experience, knowledge and how relevant/desirable it is to the new opportunity (while searching for jobs).


From my own personal experience, it is never a good idea to go back to an employer after you have left. I did it twice, and neither case ended well. Initially things will go great, but sooner or later you will feel the same frustration caused by the same issues as before. You also have no guarantee that you will not be under the toxic manager again in future, even if they do move him out for now.

I would advise you to stick with your current job, or if you feel it's not that great of a fit, look for a new job, it shouldn't be too hard given that demand in software development is rather high.

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