I left my old job in sales after 18 months.

I loved the job, felt valued and did some great work.

My reason for leaving was that I was offered a position on a basic of double the money and the opportunity to build a team which I relished.

The new job is an hour and half commute (the old job was local) and I am working 12-15 hours every day which is affecting my family life. There is also a very heavy drinking culture (I am 2 years sober).

My old company has gotten in touch and offered me the opportunity to go back on more money (which, when you take into account travel expenses, works out the same as the new job).

However my boss at my new job has invested heavily in recruitment and infrastructure for the process of setting up my new team.

I really do want to go back to my old job but I feel that morally I can't. My new boss is also extremely unapproachable and volatile and even breaking this news seems an impossible task anyway. I also have the old adage 'you should never go back' in the back of mind.

Any advice would be hugely appreciated.

  • 3
    I went back to an old job after 6 months elsewhere and it was one of my best career moves. Do it. – camden_kid Nov 11 '14 at 13:15
  • 12-15 hours a day? Does your contract say this or is it unpaid overtime? You will probably wear yourself out... – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Oct 13 '17 at 23:20

The new job is an hour and half commute (the old job was local) and I am working 12-15 hours every day which is affecting my family life. There is also a very heavy drinking culture (I am 2 years sober).

Go back, the new job isn't right (even if it was only the drinking I'd say the same, there will become a pressure to fall off the wagon given the hours and environment, nothing is worth that).

The training and infrastructure costs are part of business and the boss would have done the same for whoever was in your role, you successor will still get most of the benefits.

It won't be easy talking to the current boss, but focus on how good you'll feel after it's done and the dust is settled.

I'd normally advise against going back to an old employer/job, but it can work well (an old employer of mine had a number of people leave for multiple years, then return in promoted roles and love being back), the fact the offer seems to indicate a willingness to have you back rather than just acceptance is good.

Just make sure you aren't leap-frogging someone that you'll need to work with day-to-day by doing this, that may cause issues, but even that can be handled if you know the person well enough.

  • Great advice, thanks, I know people say you shouldn't go back but in a way I feel like I will be better at my old job for having had this experience. Thanks again – Jimmy Dwyer Nov 11 '14 at 11:29
  • No worries, you probably will benefit for the experience. If you feel the answer was of help, feel free to upvote and/or accept on the left :) – The Wandering Dev Manager Nov 11 '14 at 11:34

There is also a very heavy drinking culture

My new boss is also extremely unapproachable and volatile and even breaking this news seems an impossible task anyway.

That, in and of itself, is as good a reason as any to leave your current job, if you have the option to.

How do you think your current work environment will be in 6 months? In one year? In 5 years? Do you see your boss improving, or a new boss in the picture? Be realistic and harsh with yourself, then make your decisions accordingly.

From the phrasing of your question, I would surmise that you are not only a recovering alcoholic, but a child of an alcoholic (and if you are, you know how I'd recognize that). It comes across that you are concerned about pleasing, and if not that, sating an abusive authority figure, rather than meeting your responsibilities to yourself. You may want to speak with a professional about that, separately from your career management.

  • Wow, thanks, that was so insightful it choked me up for a second! – Jimmy Dwyer Nov 11 '14 at 13:30
  • Those who are recognize each other almost instantly. Those who aren't will never comprehend. Best wishes to you. – Wesley Long Nov 11 '14 at 13:39
  • @WesleyLong, I am not a recovering alcoholic but I recognized what you are talking about as well. It is not incomprehensible to everyone. You do have to have wide life experience to probably notice it (but I am old so I do), I will grant you that. – HLGEM Nov 12 '14 at 16:59
  • @HLGEM, I am not one, either, but I am a COA. That's what I was referring to. – Wesley Long Nov 13 '14 at 0:13

I do not work in sales, so i do not know the different culture there. Also, i have never heard of any adage about going back.

I am a big proponent of not bothering with morality when dealing with a company (to a limit). After all, the business of business is business. If we're doing old adages, i mean.

If this was an IT role, i would think you should go back to the old job. I hate long commutes myself, and 12 to 15 hour days! But those on their own are not great reasons - the reason that stands out is the heavy drinking culture and your abstinance.

Your boss being a volatile heavy drinker, well, you probably will not bond so well, and over the long term this might cause problems.

You just do not sound happy at the new place, and you are working to support a happy life. If you have a similar offer from the old place, why not take it and be happier?

You should work out how to tell your boss - in a public meeting room (glass and visible) or at a one on one lunch. This is only because he is volatile, which might save you some hassle.

  • Thanks for your considered and helpful response. I think part of me feels like I should just man up and get on with it, I'm not normally one for regrets but in truth I think that is just procrastination in the face of having to actually deal with it. – Jimmy Dwyer Nov 11 '14 at 11:21

Your old job looks like a better fit for you than your current job. If you decide to leave, it's no longer about the money, it's about the commute, the family priorities and the health - you need to keep away from the drinking environment.

If you decide to break the news and you can't approach your boss to give notice, give the notice by e-mail, assuming that there is nothing in the employee handbook that says that it's not valid to give notice by email or by note on desk. If he is unapproachable, you're giving that notice by hook or by crook and the only thing you really care about is that HR is not saying that the way you gave notice is invalid.

If you decide to give notice, the sooner you give notice, the sooner you're outta here and the sooner the episode is behind you.

I don't know where you've got that guilt about leaving if you did the best job you could while you were on their payroll. It's nice that your boss invests in the team but it's always understood that some investments go dry - that's the nature of business. There is no guarantee in life. No need to get sentimental about it.

  • Thanks for the response. It was always sold to me as a long term project so I can't have any qualms that it was mis-sold to me or anything like that, however I have definitely left the sales team in a better state than I found it, that's for sure, regardless though I will be made to feel like some kind of traitor. If I'd known the sheer scale of the culture I don't think I would have taken the job. – Jimmy Dwyer Nov 11 '14 at 11:25
  • I'd say that anyone who calls me a traitor is burning his bridges with me. You got twice the pay but you ended up doing twice the work - they got their ransom in flesh from you. – Vietnhi Phuvan Nov 11 '14 at 11:31

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