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  1. #1
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    Default Advice on returning to previous employer

    Is it ok to go back to your old department if the new one is not what you expected? I was with my old department for 5 years and left for a better paying department. I've been at the new department now for a year and I'm still wanting to go back. I would have to start at the bottom but I feel it would be worth it as my old department is in my home town. Anyone have any experience with this kind of issue?


  2. #2
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    Did you paint, burn or blow up the bridge on the way out of town??

    should be no problem going back, have known a few people that have done it.

    the major question they are going to ask is are you staying, or just waiting to test somewhere else??

  3. #3
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Some departments say, "If you leave, you can't come back". I had a Chief that wouldn't rehire a member if they left.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  4. #4
    Forum Member dfwfirefighter's Avatar
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    You need to TRUTHFULLY examine both: 1) why you left your original department, and 2) why you want to return to it.

    I had a similar experience from leaving one department and going to another. You are likely still out of your "comfort zone" with regards to your new department so don't let the "here and now" uncertainties overpower what is best for you in the long-term.

    I can promise you this: your original department will NOT be the same, rosy place you left. You will have alot to prove when you return, such as "how long until he leaves again?", "I guess he couldn't make it there so he came back here", and etc. Alot of that is firehouse ribbing and humor, however there will likely be some resentment among officers and members about your return. As stated earlier, much of this will depend on the conditions in which you left.

    Remember that neither you nor any of us are irreplaceable. As soon as you leave, there will be 20 people with their hands up ready to take your place. Be honest will yourself and make the best decision for you.

    As far as my deal, I left a department I have been a career member of for nearly a decade and went to another one. Once I got settled, I was really appreciative of the move for both personal and professional reasons.

    Good luck.
    DFW



    "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

  5. #5
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    The reason I want to return is so that I work close to my family (wife and kids) and be a part of the community. I didn't realize how important that was until I left. Still unsure if I should go back or not...

  6. #6
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    Here is a question. Say you work part time for a smaller career department and potentially could get full time. Another opportunity arises at a much larger department just when you received a full time job at your once part time department. Your goal in your career is to work for a large department, due to growth and moving up the chain. But you finally reached your goal to be full time. Do you stick with the first full time job that comes up or still try for a large department?

  7. #7
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    would say it depends on the attitude of the part time dept, they may cut you loose as soon as they hear you are trying for another dept, or they may support your move.

    also sounds like you do want to move, and that seems to be the answer.

  8. #8
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    Not necessarily true. Test, test, test is what everyone told me, so me wanting to transfer isn't true, everything just kind of happened all at the same time. Jobs are dime a dozen in the northeastern part of the county, so I tested everywhere and anywhere.

  9. #9
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    So which dept do you want to work for for the next twenty years

    Part time

    Or

    Large

  10. #10
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    We've had a number of people leave our department and come back (one was a captain who left to be a BC with a department much closer to his home. Things weren't what he expected, and he came back less than a year as a captain, and now serves as one of the three assistant chiefs).

    Generally speaking, we allow members back as long as they left in good standing, and haven't been gone greater than two years. Outside of that, they have to go through another application process.

    I don't know of any of our members who've been looked at any differently because they left and came back.
    Career Fire Captain
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    Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

  11. #11
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    I have an acquaintence who wanted to be a big city firefighter. He left the FD he was with and got hired by the DCFD (pre-Ellerbe). He did a few years there and became disillusioned with once the present chief took over the FD. Morale in the DCFD (I refuse to call it DC FEMS) has gone past the crapper into the sewer system, people are being punished if they voice an opinion, and the list continues to grow.

    He is back with his old FD, but had to start all over again as far as seniority and pay scale, but he is far happier.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  12. #12
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    Only YOU can answer the question of what is right for you and for your family. In my opinion the most important thing is quality of life with you wife and kids. Being a firefighter is great, but it's still just a job. You are committed to your wife and children.
    Would your previous department take you back? I would encourage you to have a discussion with the Fire Chief and explore the option. Many places have a 1 year deadline on returning. You'll never know if you don't ask the question. I would have some pretty compelling reasons why I wanted to come back in addition to "I miss my family". The chief is going to expect to hear departmental reasons as to why you want to return.
    Good luck with your decision.
    Paul Lepore
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