Grass – Greener Here or There?


Dear Dharma,

I need help with my moral compass in regards to work.  I’ve been with my current company for almost 2 years but have kept on good terms with my previous employer.

I’m enjoying my new gig; the people are great, the work is interesting and I feel appreciated.  I left my old company because I was getting run down and felt it was time for a change.  No hard feelings and I’ve kept on good terms with everyone.  I still have a strong attachment to the company.

I’ve recently had a medical issue and been on a medical leave for about 5 weeks.  My current employer and co-workers have been great and really supportive through the process.

The dilemma is that there may be an opening coming up at my old company and I may be approached about the position.  It will be tempting as it will most likely be more money – not that that’s everything, I know it’s not, but must be taken in to account especially since the increased pay affects future pension payments I may receive. Considering that I still feel attached to the company and feel that I can make a difference there will make any offer tempting.

Do I owe it to my current employer to stick around since they supported me or should I fully consider any offers that come in and make the decision based on what’s best for me?

An early response is greatly appreciated!

Ship Jumper (Maybe)

Dear Ship Jumper,

I’m picking up on a lot of mixed signals here, so let’s do a quick re-cap, as it sounds like we are smack dab in the middle of a grass is greener over here situation… no wait, over there… no wait…

You were run down and needed a change, so you pursued another opportunity where the work is interesting and they make you feel appreciated.  You’ve been there for 2 years, all has been going well, and they are supportive of your current medical situation.  Everything sounds like it falls squarely in the pro column, although I’m sure there are some cons… there always are…

Even though you are still on good terms with your former employer, which is great, it doesn’t negate the fact that you left by your own choice, and I think that’s where we need to focus.  Leaving a job is seldom a quick and easy decision, unless it’s complete hell, and even then, people have been known to stay for years (ha, that’s me jumping up and down, waving my arms) – and yet you still left.

You say that if you returned you would be able to “make a difference”, but I’m wondering why you didn’t feel you were making a difference when you were employed with them two years ago.

You need to really look at what led you to a near burn out.  Do you feel the environment has changed so substantially that you aren’t running the risk of the more things change the more they stay the same?

Without knowing how old you are, it’s hard to calculate the exact importance of future pension payments, but for some reason this strikes me a pretty weak leg to throw all your weight on as your primary deciding factor at this point in your life.

In your current position, do you feel you are lacking in potential for salary increases and additional growth?  It sounds like the people are really great, but you don’t say enough for me to really know what’s going on for you there.

I’ve always, always said you can never go back.  I’ve said that a million times in a million different ways when I hear of people wanting to go back into old relationships, and I’m like, dude, you can never go back.  You think it will be different, and for a while it will be, and then, dang it, there’s the same old problems in the same old places.  I’m feeling like that applies here to some degree, non?

So your actual question is do you “owe it” to your current employer to stay because they “supported you” – okay, so let’s just be clear about something… they are supporting you exactly to the extent that your benefit package and the law requires them to, it isn’t coming out of their personal pockets.  That’s not to say they don’t care, or that they aren’t concerned for your wellbeing, it’s more to say that it’s not a personal decision on their part, it’s simply the cost of doing business.

Meaning your decision should be based on the same thing, which is what you said – what’s best for you… and you’re right, it doesn’t always come down to the dollars, it actually has more to do with sense.  Ha, see what I did there?

I just don’t know if I think a step backward will move you forward as much as you think it will.

Hoping your medical situation is under control and that you are on your way back to 100%.



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Categories: Uncategorized, Work


  • sunshine471 says:

    interesting that on the polls some ppl say go back to old job. Im surprised by that. That wouldn’t my advice, since there was a reason you left in the first place. don’t go back.

  • TJthekid says:

    Is this out of some kind of sentimentality that you are thinking of going back? Hopefully you haven’t romanticized how great it used to be there, and lost track of whatever it was that made you leave. I’m with DD – going backwards won’t get you anywhere.

  • magic Mike says:

    I don’t see anyone asking why you left in the first place. I have had several jobs where I was laid off, so left not of my own choice, and would have stayed on if the work was there. I did go back to those jobs at a later date, with no problems, until the next slow down.
    Don’t think of the “company” as the same as the people you work with. They may be great people, the best boss or manager ever, but you don’t work for them, you work for a faceless entity, and you owe it nothing other than a fair days work for a fair days pay. You may feel personal loyalty to a boss or manager, but that is not the same thing as “oweing” the company.

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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