What's your problem?

SHOULD I ABANDON RETRAINING AND GO BACK? Like many other City employees, I was laid off work last summer. It was a trigger to make a few changes in my life, and I've started retraining as a lawyer. Out of the blue, my old company has offered me my job back.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

It would mean a salary and security, but it would also entail giving up my law training and putting aside any dreams for a different future. I'm earning just enough to get by through some private financial consultancy work, but my partner is urging me to take my job back. What would you advise?

A: I know very little about your circumstances and those of your partner, so I've had to assume that when you say you're earning just enough to get by, you're not condemning a home-bound spouse and five children under 10 to second-hand shoes and nutritious kitchen scraps.

That being so, two instincts lead me to advise you to stay with your legal training. First, although being laid off last summer can't have been fun, it seems clear that you seized on the opportunity to change your life with something like gratitude. You obviously look on the prospect of life as a lawyer with far more enjoyment than you derived from your previous job.

Second, if you go back to your old company - or even your old occupation - that will almost certainly be irrevocable. You'll be conceding that you'll never become a lawyer. That realisation may come to haunt you.

Furthermore, you may well begin to hold your partner responsible; and such a deep sense of grievance and regret can have a terribly corrosive effect on any relationship.

So for both your sakes, if you can scrape by without inflicting hardship on others, then that's what I think you should do.

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