You’re excited about the new opportunity. And you start the role and begin to dive in.
But, after a little while on the new job, you begin to have doubts. You wonder if you made the right choice. And you start to think “I miss my old job.”
If you’re starting to feel like you miss your old job, and are wondering what to do, this article is for you.
I’m going to unpack common questions around the feeling of “I miss my old job” and offer my experience and perspective from someone who has felt this when transitioning roles.
Let’s dive in.
Is It Normal to Miss My Old Job?
Yes, it is normal to miss your old job. Getting a new job is a significant life change and, when any type of life change of that magnitude occurs, it’s common to miss what you were comfortable with.
When it comes to missing an old job, there are a variety of things that may cause that feeling:
- You miss your old boss
- You miss your old co-workers
- You were good at your old job and are experiencing a learning curve at your new job
- You miss your old working environment (for example, you used to work in an office but are now remote)
- You miss the old company culture (for example, maybe your old job was in a fast-paced environment and your new job is slower)
- You miss your old job responsibilities
The key is deciding whether or not you need to take action on how you’re feeling. To do that, you need to asses whether what you’re feeling is temporary, changeable, or a long term red flag.
What I mean by that is that there are certain things that you might be feeling that are simply related to adjusting to a transition. For example, not feeling like you’re good at your new job is likely a temporary thing that will change as you settle in.
Other ones might be things that you don’t like but that you can change with negotiation. For example, let’s say that you used to work in an office but are now working remote and you feel isolated and lonely. You could address that by moving into a shared co-working space to be around other people. And you could even ask if your new employer would be open to paying for it.
The issues that are most concerning are ones that are long term and not easily changeable. For example, if you find that you are the company moves at a much slower or faster pace that is really frustrating to you. That is a company culture thing that is really difficult to change. When you run into long term red flags of that nature, that’s a situation where you need to decide if that bothers you enough to re-evaluate if the job change makes sense for you.
Why Do I Regret Leaving My Old Job?
You likely regret leaving your old job because there are things about your new job that are different and that you aren’t enjoying at the moment.
Now, the nature of the discomfort you’re experiencing ties to how concerned you should be about the regret that you’re feeling for leaving your old job.
If it’s a short term issue likely related to the transition, such as not having established relationships with your co-workers yet, then that’s something that will likely come with time.
Also, if it’s something where you can negotiate an improvement to your situation, then you can look to address it in that way. As an example, if you’re working a ton, or doing a lot of work on tasks you don’t like, you could pitch hiring a new person on your team.
However, if it’s a long-term issues, such as feeling like your new boss is toxic, then you may need to evaluate if your new job is really where you want to be.
Is It Good to Go Back to My Old Job?
Going back to your old job can be the right decision in certain circumstances. And I do know a variety of people who have returned to an old job or company after realizing that they made a mistake.
However, there are a couple of key factors that you want to consider before deciding whether or not you want to go back to an old job:
- Are you not enjoying your new job due to issues that are likely long-term and cannot be changed?
- Are the factors that caused you to want to leave your old job still going to be an issue upon your return?
If the issues that you’re experiencing at your new job are likely short term and transitional, then it probably makes sense to wait it out and settle in at your new job. However, if they’re longer-term issues, then it could make sense to make a quick decision and go ahead and get out of there.
If you feel confident that the pain points at your new gig are longer term, then you need to ask yourself if going back to your old job is truly the right thing to do. There are probably a variety of reasons that you decided to quit your old job and those reasons are likely to still be there upon your return, then it’s probably not a good idea to return to the same environment. In that case, then it make make sense to start looking for a job at a different company, that would be more in line with what you’re looking for.
How Can I Get Over My Previous Job?
In many cases, it just takes time to get over your previous job. So simply by sticking it out and getting more comfortable in your new gig, you will often be able to get over your previous job that way.
However, if you’re finding that a significant amount of time has passed, say six months or more, and you still haven’t gotten over your previous job, that could be your body or mind telling you something. Think of it as a pebble in your shoe, as Paul Millard calls it in the Pathless Path, which basically means that you’re experiencing a small irritant that is not going away but that you need to address.
If that feeling doesn’t go away, rather than trying to “get over it,” you should work to address it. Either see if you can go back to your previous job, find another job that is similar to your previous job, or try and try and create your own thing that enables you to build the life that you want for yourself.
“I miss my old job.”
If you find yourself thinking that, it can be a tough and uncomfortable spot to be.
However, if you step back and assess is this temporary, negotiable, or a long-term red flag, that can help to guide your next steps.
And if your new job truly does have long term red flags that can’t easily be changed, then you should feel empowered to take action and see if you can return to your old job, or find a new gig that’s more in line with what you want.