Change your mind on a job offer?
July 31, 2014 1:18 PM   Subscribe

I was recently given a great job offer (about two months ago). I declined for a variety of reasons, but I am realizing that I may have made a mistake.

The position was the same role I am in now (which I enjoy). It likely included an eventual move to Australia.

I was not sure if I wanted to do that since the culture of Sydney seemed a little behind tech-wise (which has been confirmed) and not sure about the career path for a female inside the company. It was just general intuition based on the people I was talking to, and there were some reviews on Glassdoor that mentioned that. I raised it when I was evaluating my offer, and they reassured me otherwise, but I wasn't convinced.

I was not sure about the role and company, and I was in middle of interviewing for one I was really excited about (which I didn't get) -- and since I wasn't sure, I passed on it.

Two months later, a lot has happened that is making me reconsider:

--I was seeing myself staying at the company for another year and then applying to business school. Since then, there has been more transparency about financials, and they are not good. There also have been unprofessional behavior by some coworkers (just some sketchy stuff) and that also made me realize that it's not a good idea.
--I also realized that business school applications require a lot more work than anticipated, and I would need to prepare for at least a year so it would be two years down the line.
--I have interacted with more people who have told me more about the company's culture and growth (indirect people) and realized how good of an opportunity it was, and that I was kind of an idiot.
--I am much more open to going abroad now. At the time it was the fear of something new and unexpected, and now I am realizing that it would be a positive experience.
--I have applied to other jobs and I am realizing that the market is tough. I may have been too optimistic.

Should I reconsider? I have a tendency to have a hard time making decisions, and then regretting them sometimes. It may be a bad idea to even do this thought exercise but it really was a question of timing, and it wasn't right then and do to a lot of factors it's better now.

If I do decide 100% that I do want to do this, should I ask? Is that bad etiquette?
posted by pando11 to Work & Money (8 answers total)
Fuck etiquette. You don't have anything to lose by asking.

I wouldn't get your hopes up that the position is still open, however.
posted by Jairus at 1:23 PM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Two months is kind of a long time. It's very possible that, if the pool was decent, they made an offer to their second choice. Even if they didn't have another good candidate, they could have gone through another recruitment process in that time.

I think it's fine to contact them and ask if it's still available (what do you have to lose?), but don't get your hopes up.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:23 PM on July 31, 2014

I think whether it's appropriate to ask depends on the details of your field -- mostly how likely it is that this job is even still available and how much everyone knows everyone else. If your field is oversupplied with good candidates, asking about this after two months may come across as naive. If your field is sufficiently diffuse, word may not get out beyond this company; if everyone knows everyone, you run the risk of being flagged as "that person who has no idea how this field works."

On the flip side, if your field is undersupplied (and so the job is more likely to still be open), you may find that they're happy you're asking, because they didn't find anyone else to fill the spot. But it doesn't sound like that's the case, if you're indicating that the market is tough for you.

You know your field better than we do. In my field, this would be a not-great plan and would probably harm my chances at other jobs. If you don't think that's the case for you, you might as well go for it.
posted by dorque at 1:36 PM on July 31, 2014

Dunno about the etiquette, but I would find this incredibly strange. That post is very likely (depending on the field, maybe almost certainly) filled, and if I were the hiring manager this would make you seem very wishy-washy and flaky to such an extent that if you applied for another role in my org next year, I would not want to hire you. Basically, I would fear that in another two months you might change your mind again.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 1:36 PM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Basically, I would fear that in another two months you might change your mind again.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 4:36 PM on July 31 [+] [!]


But I agree. I wouldn't expect the original position to be open, and wouldn't want to frame a re-approach to the company as asking if you can change your mind two months later and take the job after all.

I would assume that particular ship has sailed, and make clear to the company that, while you felt that particular job wasn't quite right for you at the time, you found a lot to admire about them and feel you'd be a good fit and would welcome the opportunity to be considered for similar positions should they become available. Since they obviously liked you enough to offer you the job, you may well have a leg up on future openings.

if for whatever reason the original job is still open, let them tell you that, and then if things go that direction, you can accept it. But don't expect that.
posted by Naberius at 1:53 PM on July 31, 2014 [16 favorites]

I agree with Naberius. You should avoid asking about the specific position you applied for, even if that's what you're most hoping for. The language in their second paragraph is good start on the email you should write.

Also, does the company not have job postings online? That could give you an indication whether the position you applied for (or similar ones) are still open. It probably wouldn't change what you write, but it could give you a better idea of what to expect.
posted by Fishkins at 2:17 PM on July 31, 2014

I took Naberius' approach declining a job offer. I came to regret declining it, asked if anything else was available about a year after the initial offer. Got a polite "not now, will keep you in mind" email. Three months later and a new position arose, got the call, got the job, happily employed.

That said, when interviewing, I had a gut sense there were certain things I would dislike about the position. My gut was 100% correct, but no job is perfect and I am generally happy with my role.
posted by slateyness at 9:21 PM on August 1, 2014

My partner works in the industry and he says that it would be worth asking them if they will reconsider taking you on. The worst that could happen is that they say no. He does say, that you should ask for at least as good an offer as the first one.

The tech industry in Australia is underdeveloped - dominated by finance - but there are more startups now than there were in the past. It's getting better...
posted by kinddieserzeit at 5:23 AM on August 2, 2014

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