Resigning from a job is normally done as part of a well-considered plan, ideally after having nailed down a new one.

But sometimes we quit a job in the heat of the moment, on the heels of an argument or unfair accusation or other workplace brouhaha. When we cool off, we may regret our hastiness. Is it possible to push Undo and start again?


But first, consider that your initial decision to quit may have been the right one after all. You might simply be suffering a case of cold feet. So take a little time to think through all that led to your resignation. Talk with a trusted friend or mentor. Consider every angle. Your best move may be to move on.

If you decide you really do want to regain that old job, know you have work to do. Contact the employer, explain you made a mistake and apologize for acting in anger. Be open and sincere. Describe the ways that giving you a second chance would benefit the company. Stress how motivated you are to make amends — detailing what you will specifically do to resolve the issues that led to your resignation — and ask to turn back the clock.

Don’t be surprised if there’s pushback, or skepticism. Keep in mind that your old company likely has no legal requirement to restore your job. You’re asking for a favor here. Do so with as much grace as you can muster.

If you haven’t allowed too much time to pass and if you were previously on good terms with your employer, the answer might be yes. It’s even possible that your refreshed commitment will result in stronger ties and a better working relationship. But keep in mind that you’ll need time to regain the trust of all the people you work with.

If the answer is no, remind yourself that apologizing was the right thing to do in any case. You might even offer to return for a couple days to tie up loose ends and train your replacement. Mend bridges as well as you can. Going forward, stay in touch with your former colleagues and boss. It’s a small world. Who knows, you might be working alongside them again someday.