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I work at a company where several people have quit and later came back. Someone even managed to do that three times.

I may be interested in coming back in the future and I also believe my actual position is much lower than it should be. I'd like to quit in a way that would improve my chances of getting a much better position if I ever come back.

Should I say that this is the reason for quitting (even if it is only partially true) or is it better to give generic reasons?

I believe it is very unlikely that they would make a decent counter offer for a number of reasons.

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  • First, severe, mistake: Do not assume you will be able to come back. – keshlam Jan 19 '17 at 19:30
  • If you do mention it, you may alert them to the fact that this is what their employees are doing and change their re-hire practices (which would negatively impact you). – Hannover Fist Jan 19 '17 at 20:19
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It would be better to approach your boss with something like

I would like to take on more responsibility! How about you let me take on XYZ and make me a Senior Peon.

as opposed to

I quit because I want to come back in 6 months as a Senior Peon!

Open a dialog with your manager. Let them know what you want. Give them an opportunity to actually meet your needs. If they cannot or will not, you can find another company that will. The best part is, you won't have to explain why you're leaving. They'll already know it's because they weren't giving you what you were actively communicating that you wanted.

Then, if you ever decide to seek re-employment, they'll know that you want more responsibility and you'll be able to demonstrate that you succeeded with more responsibility elsewhere and maybe they'll bring you back at a higher position. But just leaving the company isn't enough to get you re-hired at a better position.

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  • As an aside, this is what I'm actively doing at work. I've requested more responsibility, suggested several opportunities, and am awaiting their decision. I didn't wallow in dissatisfaction and then quit. I sought out satisfaction. – Chris G Jan 19 '17 at 18:58
  • Note that quitting is also a form of seeking out satisfaction, just not in the same place. – Erik Jan 19 '17 at 19:00
  • Absolutely. It's on the table, but it's generally easier to pursue satisfaction within your current company. It's not always possible (especially if the environment is toxic), but if you can make it work, it's generally less stressful to give your employer an opportunity to meet your needs. If they can't or won't deliver, you should seek that satisfaction elsewhere. – Chris G Jan 19 '17 at 19:41
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I'm sympathetic to this because, sadly, there are places who only realize your value when you're with someone else, and then forget all over again once you're back. The thing is, not all companies think this way and I would generally advise to try and migrate towards the ones who appreciate your service while, you know, you're actually there.

That being said, there are lots of other factors that might make you want to return and so I think that being relatively straightforward is fine. To that end...

  • Don't outright talk trash about the company unless you absolutely do not want to come back until Thing X is replaced, and even then you may want to keep that to yourself. If you didn't get along with your boss, unless that boss is running rampant you're probably better off not saying anything and then, down the line if they want to rehire you, determine at that point who you'd be reporting to and make your decision then.

  • Speak in terms of "I" rather than "you" statements. "I am moving on because the new employer is willing to pay me at a rate that's about what the average person in my position in the industry is making" instead of "you guys aren't paying me enough".

  • Prepare to be counter-offered if you do name specifics. If you are leaving to become a lead at another place for 10% more money, you should at least be prepared for the possibility that this company will offer you the same thing. They might not, but if you still want to just get out - which is not necessarily a bad thing; if you have to go out and find a job every time you want a raise, that can get very tiring very quickly - just make sure you've got a response prepared for that.

Some companies/owners/HR departments weirdly take it super-personally when you leave for a similar position at another company. If you want to ever consider going back, consider those eggshells that you have to walk on.

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