WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM?

WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM? - I'M TEMPTED TO GO BACK TO MY OLD JOB

by JEREMY BULLMORE, former chairman of J Walter Thompson, is now adirector of Guardian Media Group and WPP
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I'M TEMPTED TO GO BACK TO MY OLD JOB

After spending 10 years with the same retail company, I have finally moved on for all the usual reasons - better prospects elsewhere, higher salary, new challenges and so on. To my surprise, I'm still finding it hard to settle into my new job after nine months, and I miss my old one I'm 39 and single, and my social life was built around my former colleagues. My old company has since offered me my job back, this time with slightly more responsibility and better pay. I've always thought it was a bad move to go back to something, but in this case I'm really tempted to return.

Reluctance to return to an old job is often based on little more than embarrassment. Your old company gave you a rattling good leaving party, a better present than you had any right to expect and the boss man stood up and said some extremely generous things about you. You in turn were grateful and gracious - but left them in no doubt that you were leaving for all the things you tell me you were leaving for: better prospects, higher salary, new challenges.

And now, lurking somewhere in the back of your head, is the prospect of a sheepish return. Turning up on that first morning won't be easy.

Jokes will be made at your expense, not all of them affectionate. Even with the promise of more responsibility and better pay, it'll seem a bit of a climbdown, a bit of a humiliation.

Which it is, in a way, but - except in your own mind and maybe that of your worst enemy - this is a small failure, a legitimate experiment that didn't come off; but valuable lessons learned.

The great thing is that your old company wants you back. Management will be doubly delighted: they'll be pleased to welcome a face they trust and your return may make other potential defectors think twice. And most of your workmates - who you obviously get along with - will be reassured to learn that the grass isn't all that greener after all.

I can think of only one reason for further hesitation. Once you're back, you'll be back not necessarily for good but for a very long time. If that doesn't daunt you, then swallow the pride, be extremely grateful to your existing employers - and head off home.

SHOULD I COME CLEAN ABOUT MY DYSLEXIA?

I am looking for my first job after completing a university degree, but I suffer from dyslexia. It affects my reading and writing quite severely, yet as I want a job in stockbroking I'm hoping this won't be an issue. My concern is whether I should tell interviewers that I suffer from dyslexia, and whether this is likely to count against me.

This is an important decision, because the two choices open to you carry quite different sorts of risk.

As you rightly suspect, if you come clean about your dyslexia it could well count against you in interviews; but at least you've been honest.

If you conceal your disability and get a job, you'll have nagging anxieties just about for ever: first, that you got a job under false pretences; and second, that at some future point, sooner or later - never mind how - the truth will out.

So I'd go for openness and do it boldly. Reveal your dyslexia up-front, acknowledge that it's reasonable for any prospective employer to be concerned about its potential effect on your work, and explain how you've overcome the problem so far. You have, after all, obtained your degree - which must have required some proficiency in reading and writing.

You've probably had contact with the International Dyslexia Association already, so check with them about this approach and see if they have examples in the public domain of well-known people who have been highly successful despite their dyslexia. Employers find precedents reassuring.

If all else fails, you can always resort to subterfuge. But I hope and believe you won't have to.

EVERYONE WANTS A SHARE OF THE INTERN

I manage a small team in a publishing company and we all work very hard to get things done on time with limited resources. We have recently taken on a young but very talented work-experience girl, who has been helping certain members of the team on various projects. The difficulty is that the other team members feel short-changed because she hasn't been allocated to them. It's rare for us to find talented volunteers to help in the office, so finding another intern is not an option. What can I do to ease the tensions?

What's needed here, by the sound of it, is a bit of leavening. If the girl's on work experience, she won't be with you for much longer - but you can certainly help the situation simply by recognising it.

Next Friday evening (or whenever seems suitable), gather your managers and the intern around you for a glass of wine and explain that she's been so efficient and helpful and productive that everyone now wants a piece of her but that's impossible. So from now on her time will be allocated in the only truly equitable manner: by weekly lottery. Hold the first draw there and then - and then have another glass of wine.

Don't forget to take the girl into your confidence before you announce all this. She's likely to find it quite flattering, but don't let it come as a surprise.

Please address your problems to him at: Management Today, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP.

Or e-mail: management.today@haynet.com Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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