Dear John: Should I return to my old job?


I have been at my current job since September, coming for a promotion from HOD to HOF. I didn’t realise at the time that the woman who did my job previously would still be there. She is very nice but her presence is causing an unintentional undermining and it is becoming very difficult for me. In addition to this the school is just not friendly, each department very competitve with one another and no one mixes - there is no staff culture.

There is a possibility that I could go back to my lovely old school, kids are more challenging but staff are great and it is a fun place to work. However this probably would mean a demotion. I am concerned and am wondering how this would reflect on me in the future. What would this look like? Should I give this school longer - we are only halfway through the year after all. I am confused and do need to make a decision quickly. Also if I choose to go back the conversation with the head here is going to be awful!


Well much depends upon how long you went back to your former school for, and whether the possibility is a realistic one. We do all make mistakes, and I have admitted to having done so a couple of times over the past 40 years. Quality of life is probably more important than whether it is a demotion, but going back rather than looking elsewhere can be a challenge as the school will have moved on. What of the person doing you former job; how will they feel if you return in another capacity? After all, this is something you are complaining about in your present school.

As to your present school, wait until your mind is made up and then tell the head in such a manner as it doesn’t damage the reference you will receive. You can give it longer, but as an experienced member of staff you should be able to tell whether this is mid-year blues or you are really not happy where you are working. I do doubt it will change much even with the better weather.

John Howson

The TES Careers Advice service runs seminars, one-to-one career advice, one-to-one interview coaching and an application review service