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Employer Said I’d Be Welcome Back, But I’m STILL Out In The Cold

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Dear J.T. & Dale: I was working at a company in Illinois when my brother got sick and I moved to Phoenix to help out. When I resigned my old job, the company told me the doors were open to me because I had “rehire” status. However, now that my brother is better and I’ve returned home, I reapplied and HR no longer will even answer my e-mails. Don’t tell me I can come back and then leave me out in the cold. — Jess

J.T.: While I understand your frustration, it’s great that you got rehire status. That says a lot about you and your work.

Dale: But what it does NOT say is “We’re holding a job open for you.” Instead, in HR argot, your employment file was stamped “eligible for rehire,” which means that IF there’s an opening, you won’t be excluded from consideration.

J.T.: It also means that if you apply elsewhere and they check references, prospective employers will learn that you left in good standing and that you weren’t fired.

Dale: It sounds like you’re suggesting Jess give up on his old employer.

J.T.: No; what I want you to do, Jess, is broaden your search to the whole job market, but narrow your search with your old employer. Try to visit with your former supervisors and colleagues. They’ll know when jobs are available, and if all goes well, they’ll tell HR to call you and hire you back.


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Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten’s latest book is “(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success” (John Wiley & Sons).

Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.

© 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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