They now want me back full time. To go back is like admitting defeat, and I would feel they had the upper hand. But I've got a mortgage to pay and all the other usual bills. Is there another option?
A. The only other option is a full-time job with a company other than the one you used to work for. There are two disadvantages: you must first find such a company, and, having found it, you'll need to earn their trust and respect from a standing start. The only advantage I can identify is some fairly flimsy figleaf for your pride.
Your old company already knows perfectly well that your freelance consultant venture wasn't a triumphant success; the fact that you can find two days a week to work for them is evidence of that. But they clearly rate you highly and want you back full time. What's more, you know them well: there will be no unwelcome surprises.
There may be a bit of banter for a day or two, but it won't last long. Looked at objectively, they'll have no more of an upper hand in your relationship than any other employer would. So my unhesitating advice is this: subject to salary, take their offer right away. Within a couple of months, you'll wonder why you hesitated.
Jeremy Bullmore has been creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London and a non-executive director of the both Guardian Media Group and WPP.
Address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.