I need help replying to a SR. Manager from last previous job. I left that company in 2020 after 4-5years there. She started in 2021, so she has no idea why I left.
She is now contacting me about a reunion for the apprenticeship program I was a part of. I started my career in this company, doing job rotations until a final placement.
She wants me to join two meetings to gather ideas as she plans the reunion. This of course accompanied by how she heard wonderful things about me.
Im conflicted.

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Basically I fled due to the stress and anxiety make me feel burned out. I was having panic attacks, and no one cared. I was under paid, over worked (both my job and all mentoring/volunteer/recruiting etc activities that the company benefited from). I was blocked from a sr engineer position and was made to interview for one, where I was the person that would be building the new team.

I feel as if she’s asking me to work for that company again and help them plan this nice reunion. After, I left.
Then again, I don’t know how to pass and not burn bridges.

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I suggest keeping your answer simple…

Thank her for this opportunity, but due to personal issues you don’t have the time to help with this.

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Or honestly just say nothing, emails get lost all the time and it sounds unlikely you want to go anyway. They have people there now in that program they could ask, she'll figure it out.

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Typically companies have a clause as to you can not do this (what your former company is asking you to do). I would let them know that you are not allowed to do this and wish them well/luck. I have a feeling that even the manager who is asking you to do this know that it is not right to drag you into this.

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Oh helllll no. Similar to the advice of SPM 1, I’d thank her for the opportunity but let her know you don’t have the bandwidth at this time (if you want to completely avoid hinting anything negative). Then wish her the best. Done and done!

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Keep it simple. Tell them you apologize, but you’ll be unable to attend. Offer no explanation.

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