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.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

A leadership thought: Treat your colleagues like customers

One minute briefing: Create a platform where others can see their success, says AVEVA CEO...

The ignominious death of Gordon Gekko

Profit at all costs is a defunct philosophy, and purpose a corporate superpower, argues this...

Gender bias is kept alive by those who think it is dead

Research: Greater representation of women does not automatically lead to equal treatment.

What I learned leading a Syrian bank through a civil war

Louai Al Roumani was CFO of Syria's largest private retail bank when the conflict broke...

Martin Sorrell: “There’s something about the unfairness of it that drives me”

EXCLUSIVE: The agency juggernaut on bouncing back, what he would do with WPP and why...

The 10 values that will matter most after COVID-19

According to a survey of Management Today readers.