A couple of months ago, in this very blog, I wrote about Kevin Keegan’s hailed return to his previous job as manager of football club Newcastle United.
Some of you may remember that I was rather sceptical about this much-publicised comeback because I personally don’t believe that it is always a good idea to return to an old job or employer because there are reasons people leave a job and those reasons may still be there upon return.
Now, I don’t want to say “I told you so” – well, I just did, but that is beside the point – but has anyone else noticed that this dramatic return of the ‘messiah’ has been somewhat less than successful? The team won the last match they played, but that is the only win since he returned in January, and he is coming in for much criticism.
So can we learn a lesson from the football pitch? John Wakeford, managing director of the Hitchenor Wakeford Group, certainly thinks so: “There are many risks associated with returning to a former employer and the Kevin Keegan effect has highlighted the issue for businesses and recruiters.
“Although it may seem like an irresistible challenge for some people there are more reasons not to do it. Colleagues will question your loyalty if you have already left once. There is also truth in the old adage that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
I am not saying that going back to your old job is always going to be an absolute disaster – there are of course many different situations and circumstances to consider for everyone – but I am saying that it is worth thinking very carefully before making a decision.
Ask yourself why you left in the first place, and those reasons could help determine whether you want to return. Also, think about how you are going to treat a new role in an old workplace – remember that change is constant and the company could be very different to the one you left behind. Lastly, consider how you are going to feel once back, and be careful not to find yourself in a situation where you are concerned that you have made a backwards step in your career.
So all that remains to be seen is whether Mr Keegan can do enough to save not only his team, but his job too.