I was not expecting an email from my former boss. I especially wasn't expecting it to say, basically, You did a good job and we haven't found a good successor for you yet. Would you be willing to come back and try again? It still feels unreal to hear that, two months after being fired, something -- or likely several accumulated things -- led said former boss to want to ask.
I kind of boggled at the message. Then I processed it. I thought about what I'd liked, and who I'd liked, in my former office. I also thought about the cons of the job, and the environment. I thought, as would you, about the pay raise. And I realized: if I went back, it would be mainly because of the money.
And I don't want to do something just for the money. Even for the raise I would've gotten.
Especially not with the stress and the schedule uncertainty I dealt with there. Not with the sense that there was no way to do the job correctly and far too many ways to do it wrong. Not with, really, always being an "odd one out" who felt like he wouldn't be allowed to fit in better, to do more, in that office.
To use a hackneyed image, I closed that door, and never expected it to reopen. That it did: a validation that I was doing my job better than my boss was long able to admit.
This morning, after thinking about it overnight (but, really, having decided last night), I wrote a short, as-politic-as-possible message back to him: No. But thank you. I even made a suggestion that I think, and hope, might be helpful to him, because it occurred to me.
There was plenty I wanted to write to him. Some glorious bridge-burning, nuke-it-from-orbit verbiage intercut with noises like those of the alien in John Carpenter's The Thing. Metaphorically speaking. Because getting fired, it hurt, and a hurt part of me wants to be the asshole. But I resisted. No. But thank you. I said what was simplest to say.
And I can move on. With a measure of confidence restored.