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Going back to an old boss

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Question: I have a co-worker who is considering applying for an admin job working for someone who she used to support as her secretary. My friend stopped working for this boss because the boss never stood by her, was demanding and expected her to stay long hours. I don't think it's a good idea to go back to the old boss.

The old boss told my friend (in front of the boss's new assistant) that she never got over my friend quitting on her, even though it's been 4 years.

While my friend worked for her, the boss did things such as hide my friend's coat so she couldn't leave the office and would stay late. But the boss is also a good leader. My friend said she really encouraged her to do her best and take classes. She also would do great things like take her out to lunch and give her gifts for her hard work.

What do you all think? Do you think it's a good idea to go back to a boss you didn't like working for?  -- Anonymous


Why would you want to go back to a boss you didn't like working for? Move on.

The old boss sounds more like an animal trainer that a boss. Or maybe she spells boss with all capital letters "BOSS". She made her point when she worked for her before, regardless of "rewards" and advice. Read that column again; she wants a chance to get even, or worse. I would advise my friend to steer clear.


Of course it's not a good idea to back to work for a boss that you did not like. Do not even think about working for someone who would hide someone's coat so that person had to stay late. Definitely sounds like a weirdoe and does not sound like a "good leader." Consider the old saying: "Catch me once, shame on you; catch me twice, shame on me."

Once you've "burned your bridge", don't try to bo back. What makes your friend think that this old boss has changed her ways. I think she is asking for more heartache if she applies.

Absolutely not! People like that never change, they only get worse.

This sounds like a classic abusive relationship. The boss is deceptive and manipulative, and then gives apology rewards to keep the employee coming back. Your friend is a human being, not a whipped pup. I can only hope her willingness to put up with this kind of abuse doesn't carry over into her personal life.

I do think that people can change however it seems a long shot for someone that would do things such as hiding coats. I haven't encountered anyone who would stoop that low. I wonder how good a leader this person is in the first place. In my experience the good leaders are respectful, have integrity and lead by example. Anyway it is impossible to judge things from the outside, but from what I know, it does not sound like a good idea. Good luck to you and your friend.

You state she's a good boss but hides her assistants coat so her can't leave. Hello! Perhaps this assistant feels compelled to do more than her best under this kind of leadership. I say they should have a serious talk about these past issues. Watch carefully how she words her answers, the tone of her voice and her body language for your answer. Good luck!

Why is your friend giving this more than a passing thought then shivering that she even thought to go back? That is an honest question! Is it a tremendous pay increase? That is the only reason I can even begin to imagine that she'd consider going back to the abusive relationship - because that IS what it is! The former boss (abuser) may appear to change her spots, but like any animal, their nature is what it is and will eventually come out! If she makes this move, be prepared to be called upon for support and to bite your tongue and not say "I told you so."

Has your friend ever heard of the saying "You can't go home again"? The friend should not go back to working for the abusive boss because the boss is hard-wired to behave in an that manner. Perhaps the boss wants her back because she can't get away with abusing the current support person. As time passes, people tend to "forget" the bad things about the boss and "overemphasize" the good things. And the boss may be one of those people who is charming and charismatic. I worked for one of those and in reality, he was a psychopath. I don't know how deep your friendhsip is with this person, but you should have a heart-to-heart talk with her & advise her not to go back to the old boss.

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