Changing my mind--too late?
March 31, 2010 4:51 PM   Subscribe

I was offered a dream job eight months ago that I turned down due to situational factors at the time. Those factors have changed.

Although the employer encouraged me to get in touch if I changed my mind, I know for a fact that the position has since been filled. I still wish I had accepted the job, and have pangs of regret all the time. Should I just accept that this ship has sailed and leave it be, or is there a tactful way to express to the employer that, while I know the job has since been filled and I turned down their offer, I would really appreciate consideration for future opportunities? If it matters, this was an academic, non-teaching position.

Thanks in advance for your help, hive mind.

(Anon. because I am currently employed elsewhere.)
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
They did say to get in touch, so you might as well ask them.
posted by anniecat at 4:53 PM on March 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

They told you to contact them. Regardless of whether or not the position is filled, you ought to contact them and let them know you're still interested. For all you know someone else may be leaving or perhaps the person they found isn't the best fit. You're selling yourself short if you don't at least try.
posted by phredgreen at 4:56 PM on March 31, 2010

Contact them; the job might open up again in a year or two, or maybe less.
posted by Dasein at 5:02 PM on March 31, 2010

Be direct and just ask them. You can ask without being pushy or burning bridges - if you politely ask and make your case for hiring you without aggravating anyone, then it can't hurt to ask. I doubt anyone will say, "they're a great fit, but can you believe that they got in touch with us after we told them to get in touch with us?"

Bonus: if you can find out a little about the place you want to work at, maybe they have a similar role available - not the one you are thinking of, but one you could fill - and you could ask the employer to consider you for that role.

Being direct and polite never hurt anyone.
posted by Tehhund at 5:07 PM on March 31, 2010

Yeah, the worst that'll happen if you contact them is you might never get that job. But if you don't contact them, you will definitely never get that job. They told you to get in touch, so do it.
posted by wondermouse at 5:07 PM on March 31, 2010

I have worked for my current employer for five years. I first applied for a job there seven years ago, went through the entire interview process and got a written job offer, but declined because their medical benefits did not include coverage for a specific thing we needed coverage for. I let them know the specific reason I was declining, and that if the coverage were not an issue I would have accepted the job.

Two years later, after we no longer had need for the coverage, I got in touch with them, and (after a few months of casual contact here and there) a position opened up and they ultimately hired me. There's absolutely no reason why you should not contact them about current/future openings, provided you were up front about your reasons for not accepting the job previously, and those reasons are no longer valid.
posted by davejay at 5:22 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I have been on the other end of things since, where potential job applicants turned down a gig with us because the pay grade wasn't sufficient -- and I asked them to keep their resume current and touch base once in a while. I meant it, and would welcome a fresh contact from those few applicants.
posted by davejay at 5:23 PM on March 31, 2010

Consider it a professional contact. No need to let the bridge fall into disrepair when you've been invited to maintain it.

I've interviewed people for jobs. Lemme tell you, I don't offer to stay in touch with someone unless I really mean it.
posted by desuetude at 6:50 PM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're worried about how they might feel, I would just be really specific about the wording. I'd say something along the lines of, "At the time, I wanted to make sure I could fully commit to the job, since I like to see things through. At this point in time, I believe I can do that."

You have nothing to lose. Life is short. Go for it!
posted by spiderskull at 8:16 PM on March 31, 2010

It's a rare treat to find talented, competent people in your field. There have been a number of occasions where we've interviewed people that we really wanted to hire, but couldn't for one reason or the other, only to wind up hiring them a year or two later because of changing circumstances.

As desuetude said, if they specifically asked you to keep in touch with them, that's kind-of the business-person's way of saying, "I want you to work here and will hire you if it is ever possible to do so."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:10 PM on April 1, 2010

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