by Jack Waggon
About seven weeks ago, I lost my job of sixteen years. Sixteen years of dedication and loyalty and service and support. Sixteen years of doing the right thing without having to be told to, working late hours while my family sat at home waiting for me, and always going the extra mile for the company. Gone. Worthless in today’s economy. I’ve never felt more betrayed.
I’ve been unemployed ever since. It’s been so long since I looked for a job, I almost didn’t even know how. It’s a different world out there now. I haven’t had much luck, to say the least.
Then a few days ago I finally got a call – from my old boss. A position has opened up and they immediately thought of me. I would be perfect for it because it’s almost exactly like what I was doing before. Could I come in for an interview?
I still have friends working at this company and this is what they told me – I’m not the first person to be offered their old job back. The company has a policy where if you leave and come back within six weeks, you get to keep your seniority and vacation accrual. Which is why they wait seven weeks to rehire people into their previous jobs – starting all over at new hire pay, 90-day probationary period before any benefits start, two weeks of vacation after the first year. Also, I’ll be doing my old job plus the job of someone who isn’t going to be hired back.
Having been betrayed and cast aside by this company, and then offered my old job back at less pay with fewer benefits, I am reluctant to return. But I badly need a job, not just for the money but also the health insurance. There just isn’t anything else out there for me. Should I wait, or go back?
Torn in Two
Dear Mr. Twain,
As someone famous once said, “I feel your pain.” I thought of him when I read your letter because, no matter what you think of his presidency, he did preside over a fantastic economy. Between 1994 and 2001, the longest I was ever out of work was two days. One time I found a job while driving home from the bastards who had just fired me. The proverbial pink slip was still in my pocket.
Like you say, it’s a different world out there today. One of the biggest differences is the number of places that will not consider you for a job if you are unemployed. It’s an automatic no call back.
So yes, you need to take that job if you hope to find a different one. You’re going to have to swallow your pride and bend over. But don’t let them welcome you home and suck you back into your old habits of company loyalty and dedication. Just do your job, punch that clock, and go home. You owe them nothing.
Meanwhile, renew your job search. As an employed person, you will be considered employable. Don’t get lazy or complacent. Don’t worry about leaving unfinished work on your desk as you take a long lunch to go to an interview. Keep hacking away at it until you find a better position. The bastards have done you the favor of making you a new hire, so becoming a new hire somewhere else won’t stop you from leaving.
Got a problem? Jack Waggon will set you straight: firstname.lastname@example.org