Most companies have no idea when a former employee is interested in staging a comeback.
That means it's up to you to let management know.
For starters, "check your pride and ego at the door," says Jeff Kaye of Kaye/Bassman International Corp. in Dallas, an affiliate of Management Recruiters International. "That's the only thing holding you back."
Next, he advises you to call someone you respect at the company and explain your current situation.
"Use that person to act as your champion," Mr. Kaye says.
Also important, never burn bridges when you leave.
"Even if you're a great employee, your company will remember how you left," he says.
Better yet, keep in touch while you're gone. It will make coming back that much easier.
Consider Mark Horowitz.
In 1988, after eight years at Boston-based consulting firm Bain & Co., he decided to leave.
For the next nine years he worked for several different companies as well as his family's real estate businesses and art galleries in Arizona.
During those years, Mr. Horowitz stayed in "close touch" with the partners at Bain. They'd get together for lunch when he was in town or just check in by phone.
"The door was never really closed right from the get-go," he concedes.
After nine years away, he rejoined the firm in June 1997.
"I'm not sure who initiated what," he says. "I had let it slip to the [partner] that I would be ready to move back into the mainstream."
His advice to others considering rejoining their old company: Check out the company and make sure its values and vision haven't changed.
"Even though you are going back to the firm you used to work for," Horowitz says, "you still ought to do your due diligence."