The Myth of “We’d Love to Have You Come Back Someday”

Yep, I hate to say it but if you are ever told this when leaving one job for another, it is a total lie. Employers don’t really mean it and it’s sad that a company you may have worked with for so long would look you right in the face and make such an insincere statement.

This has been said to me a couple of times, most recently a couple of years ago when I left the position of Case Manager at a local life insurance broker-dealer firm to take a position at an insurance company that offered more growth potential. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my job at the broker-dealer; I enjoyed my coworkers, the interaction with the agents, and I even loved what I was doing on a daily basis. I had been there two years and after several conversations with my manager to discuss ideas and potential growth, the opportunity to spread my wings was denied…”budget reasons” I was told. Right then and there I had to make a decision; and ultimately, it was one I wish I had never made. When I found another job and informed by superiors of my decision, they understood my reasons and were supportive; on my last day, I was even told if circumstances changed within the office they would love to have me come back because I was “good at my job and the agents liked me.”

The job I took at the insurance company was not what it was made out to be. I was so unhappy; clients were rude, angry, morale was low, staff was berated and in my 11 months there I lost 20 pounds, my appetite and gained a blood pressure problem. Irate customers do not bother me; I worked in a call center for four years and I have spoken to my share of angry people, but the atmosphere there was toxic and more than anyone should be required to put up with.

Into the fourth month of my tenure there, I had had enough and began the dreaded job search. While perusing several websites, I came across a job entitled “Life Insurance Case Manager”. I was thrilled, this was the job for me – I had done it for two years – so I clicked on the “apply now” button. Boy, was I surprised (and happy) to see the name of the hiring company as my former employer! I applied to the job and emailed the hiring manager directly letting him know how much I wanted to come back and that I missed my old job as well as the agents and coworkers.

For the next couple of days, I was happy…I thought their decision was a no-brainer and I was anxiously awaiting a phone call telling me when I could start. I thought, why hire someone brand new that needs training, when you have someone who is available who knows the systems, software and business? By the third day, I had not heard anything so I emailed the hiring manager directly to make sure he got my email and my application to the job. Three more days and still nothing; on the fourth day, I received an email from the hiring manager that read simply, “The position has been filled. Much success in your future endeavors.” Um…excuse me?? What happened to “we’d love to have you back” as well as the praise and “atta girls” I received during my time there? Was that all for nothing???

I know now that salary was factor in their decision and I understand that, but a phone call to discuss the opportunity would have been nice. Leaving one job for another and not knowing what is on the horizon is a scary thing and when it turns sour, it can really hurt one’s self-esteem. Luckily I was able to find another job and I enjoy what I do. But there is a lesson to be learned for all the hiring managers out there who lose good employees to other companies. Do not offer platitudes and praise if you don’t mean them. Be honest with your employees, and don’t burn the proverbial bridge that we as subordinates are told time and again to leave standing in one piece. The fire can start both ways – who knows, you may need them one day.

SB/2014

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