The perils of applying for a lot of things!
February 26, 2013 3:49 PM   Subscribe

Question about the Peace Corps and withdrawing acceptance of an invitation—is this possible? Will it make me look bad if/when I apply for other government things?

Hi mefi, I guess I could ask this of a recruiter but I’m being a little paranoid. I was invited to a (really, really awesome) Peace Corps assignment last week. I want to accept it but am also waiting to hear back from a really prestigious grant that I cleared the first stage of a couple of months ago. At this point the PC is becoming more and more appealing to me than even the grant, but I would still prefer to have both options on the table. If I accept the assignment now, am I still able to go back on that later (say, a month from now, when I will hopefully have heard from the grant)? Would this blacklist me from anything else? The other grant is also a US government grant, and I think accepting that instead of PC would be understandable to someone familiar with both programs, but I’m afraid of possible longer-term consequences.

I haven’t been able to find this specific information on the PC website, so forgive me if it’s there and I just managed not to stumble upon it.
posted by Papagayo to Law & Government (3 answers total)
It won't hurt you, except with the Peace Corps (the government is large and does not talk to itself much), but the point of accepting is that you're making a commitment. Put it off as long as you can -- call someone and explain your situation, and see if they're willing to let you slide on the deadline -- but once you accept a position, cancelling upsets more plans than just "Send Papagayo to Place X."
posted by Etrigan at 6:22 PM on February 26, 2013

If you accept the invitation and go back on it -- then later try to get in again -- I don't think Peace Corps will be very forgiving. Once you accept it really gets the gears moving: you have to start turning in paperwork to the people in-country right away. With the way PC operates I don't see them sending you another invite if you renegged once before. You'd be better off explaining the situation to them and asking to suspend your application. Maybe you could frame the grant as getting increased work experience for your PC position.

Another idea: you could say that your departure availability has suddenly changed due to (whatever blah-di-blah reason), and though your invite was for June 2013 you now can't leave until September. It'd buy you some time.

I know both those ideas involve giving up the current invite. Why do you think this specific one is awesome? Sometimes the invitation job descriptions are misleading or wrong. Often PC is about making your own work anyway. But if it's a country you're really passionate about, that's a different matter and not something to be passed up lightly perhaps.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:20 PM on February 26, 2013

I think it'd be fine to bring this up with your peace corps recruiter, and see what there thoughts are about it. Perhaps they have some deferral policy and you can be considered for another assignment at a later date (after you've heard back from the grant). In any event, this is one of those too many good opportunities situations. You're fortunate to be in this position; trust your own process of decision-making of what's best for you, and you'll be fine.
posted by ageispolis at 12:09 AM on February 27, 2013

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