Letter etiquette, reply to a job offer: 'thanks, but no thanks'
December 19, 2013 6:32 AM Subscribe
My SO applied for, was interviewed for, and subsequently was offered an academic post (lectureship). Some stuff just wasn't right from the outset, and all the contact with the department made it clear that it's not the right place to be working. Please help us to say 'no thanks' correctly.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In addition, SO's got a new publication and an extension to the current project (an extra 4 years as a postdoc), so the idea of jumping into a dissatisfying-looking and unhealthy-seeming department is less appealing. It'd mean giving up on 4 years of future research, and the advantages which it could bring to a future career, in place of accepting a rather full-on teaching load. This all came about since the original application, which was in spring this year – it takes a long time for appointments to be made in this country and I figure they must expect quite a high attrition rate as applicants get posts elsewhere (but note: SO didn't withdraw from the job application before now).
I think apart from the nervousness about looking a gift-horse in the mouth (lectureships are hard to get, the academic job market is terrible, etc), we are decided that the answer's got to be a 'no thanks'. So we don't need advice on the decision-making. But it's a tricky letter to write, and the nervousness means our abilities to monitor whether we're getting the tone right are compromised. The ideal outcome: a way to say 'no thanks', so that SO doesn't seem unprofessional and so that no future ill-will is engendered.
So, here's a draft (below), and here's a question: do you think it's important that SO should, in addition, be making personal contact (phone, email) with the person (Head of Dept) who invited SO's application in the first place? The HoD is part of the problem with the post, in many respects (HoD has a reputation as a bully, indeed, it's partly because of this that SO applied in the first place), and the thought of personally contacting HoD is unappealing, particularly with this kind of reply.
Dear %name (%post) and %name (%post),
Re: Offer of employment - %role at Department of %academic study (%job ref)
I was pleased to receive your letter offering me the position of %role at the Department of %academic study. Regrettably, after considerable deliberation, I write to decline the appointment. Since the time of my application in %date my employment circumstances have changed and at the present time I feel that my future career prospects are best served by remaining in my present position.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for considering my application and taking the time to interview me. I wish you luck in securing an excellent candidate to fill the post.
Any thoughts? All suggestions / improvements welcome!