Can I go back to the job I quit if my new offer falls through?

Dear Greg,

I was offered a new job, so I resigned from my current position. Then my new employer rescinded the offer. Can I now take back my resignation?

This is one of those trick questions, right? When in life exactly does that work? I mean, if you break up with someone so you can go out with somebody else, but then that person dumps you, do you have the right to just go back to the person you broke up with? Once you resign, your fate at that company is now completely out of your hands. That even includes when your last day is, regardless of the notice period you offered. You can ask if you can remain in your job, and perhaps come up with some excuse about how you made a mistake, or you’re having second thoughts and would really like to stay. Depending on how your employer feels about you, they may agree. But do that only if you intend to stay. If you’re going to start looking for another job immediately, that would be unprofessional — like asking your partner to take you back just until you found another one!

You always seem to favor employees and blame the company for the problems people write to you about. I’m a manager and I am tired of employees who don’t take responsibility for their own careers and whine instead of taking action. If they don’t like where they work they should do something about it, or just leave. Did you ever think of giving that advice?

Call me crazy, but why do I get the feeling that you’re not winning the boss of the year award anytime soon? Empathy is an important quality in a boss and in people in general. If you are a regular reader of my column, you should know that I’m all about empowering employees to take ownership of their careers. This includes advice on taking responsibility for one’s own actions and performance, and also on how to avoid being a victim of bad bosses and poorly run companies. You want to be someone people feel comfortable talking to. Is that how your staff and colleagues feel about you? Just askin’.


Leave a Reply