When you leave a job, with the exception of a family emergency, it’s almost always for a much better offer: more money, more freedom, more room for growth. At least, ideally, that’s what’s supposed to happen.

Everything looks shinier from the outside.

Fast forward a few months, and you find out that the bigger salary doesn’t make up for the unreasonable work hours, hostile environment, and shitty management. Suddenly, you’re thinking about the good ol’ days. How exactly do you ask for your old job back?

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1. Think about why you left.

Were you truly content with the working conditions there or are you only considering going back because your current position wasn’t what you expected? It’s important to re-examine the reasons why you were willing to leave it all behind. Don’t contact your former employer until you’re 100 percent sure.

2. Casually reach out.

If you left your old job without burning any bridges, contact your mentor or closest officemate and ask around. Have they filled your old position? Is there room for another employee? Speaking to a confidant, instead of just any other ex-officemate, means they’ll be honest with you about your chances of rejoining the team.

3. Apply formally.

Once you get the go signal, formally send an application. Highlight all the things you could bring to the table. What did you learn? What are some of your ideas? Do you have new skills? Remember: You won’t be the only person up for the job, but your advantage is how well you already know the company’s culture.

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4. Prepare for the interview.

Be ready to give valid reasons as to why you left and why you’ve decided to return. These are the two questions you can’t avoid, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. You need to convince them that you plan to stay (yes, even though you don’t know where you’ll be five years from now) and that you have some sense of loyalty.

5. Negotiate!

It’s scary, but always ask for more. Once you survive the interview, you know they’re interested in getting you back, which means you now have some leverage. Ask for more money, aim for a higher job title (or the close possibility of one), and welcome the additional responsibility. Remember, going back doesn't mean your reasons for leaving weren't valid, so address them. If they can’t give you what you want and insist that you take what they offered before you left, walk away.

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This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.

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