How do I gracefully decline an internal job offer?
October 19, 2017 6:06 AM   Subscribe

I was invited to apply for a position within the company I currently work for that I indicated I was interested in, and was told in a roundabout way that the job is mine if I want it. I've decided I'm better off staying where I am right now. How do I gracefully decline?

I'm feeling a little stuck at my job right now (office job in commercial real estate banking) and saw an internal job posting for a job in another department that I was idly interested in. The woman who runs the (very small) department is a colleague I used to work with in my current department that I get along with well; I wouldn't say we're friends, but we're definitely friendly to each other and respect each other's work and abilities. I told her I thought I might apply but wanted to talk to my current boss first. She is primarily responsible for the hiring in the position and essentially said the job is mine once I've been through the application process. The salary range on offer would also be a decent bump.

Without going into too much detail, I talked to my boss and he said several things that made me decide I'm better off staying where I am right now. There are some things in development over the next year or so that I would likely be involved in that I'd find interesting and challenging. None of them are guaranteed, but I want to give them the chance to happen. My current position is also likely better for my long term career goals within the company. We're also at the time of year when the bank is contemplating raises for everyone, and he let me know that the raise he requested for me is right in line with what the new job would pay. There is no guarantee that's the raise I'll get once everyone above my boss has signed off on the new budget, but it's fairly likely.

It is totally possible that a year from now none of these things will have materialized and I'll be feeling more stuck than ever and regretting not taking the job offer. But since I can't predict the future, I think it is more probable that I'll be happier in the long run staying were I am than moving to a new department in a lateral transfer. I'm 98% sure I don't want the new job, so how do I tactfully and gracefully tell my coworker that I've decided I don't want to apply after saying just yesterday that I did?
posted by skycrashesdown to Work & Money (6 answers total)
I'm 98% sure I don't want the new job, so how do I tactfully and gracefully tell my coworker that I've decided I don't want to apply after saying just yesterday that I did?

If it was me, I would talk to the other hiring manager and let her know the things that were promised to you and that they have you inclined to stay where you are. Making decisions for the best of your own career is something everybody understands.

She may try to do better for you (either matching interesting, relevant work in the same way or perhaps paying you even more to compensate for this eventual raise) which could make the prospect even better. There's no downside to being honest that your current job is offering you more without implying that you are using it to leverage a better offer from her.
posted by notorious medium at 6:12 AM on October 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

"There's a lot going on in my personal life right now, so I'd really like to stay where I am for the time being."
posted by pupsocket at 6:19 AM on October 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wouldn't make it about personal life — there's no downside in being clear. "After I've learned more about where my current department is headed, I think the best path for me and for the company is if I stay in my current role while we see how these efforts play out. Let's definitely keep in touch while we move these initiatives forward, so I can be a help to whatever you're doing, whether that's in my current role or in a role on your team if the opportunity arises again."
posted by anildash at 6:43 AM on October 19, 2017 [15 favorites]

Do not use your personal life as an excuse. You might be branded as a person that isn't interested in or can't handle more responsibility. You don't want to get written off as somebody with low ambition. Make this a professional decision. Talk to both managers so they know you're interested in furthering your career but possible future developments in your current position better fit your desired career path.
posted by LoveHam at 9:26 AM on October 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

The truth would work well. Chris, thanks so much for letting me know about the open position in your department. After reviewing my current position with my manager and serious thought, and much as I'd like to work with you, I've decided to stay where I am.
posted by theora55 at 9:39 AM on October 19, 2017 [8 favorites]

Yep, no big deal. "Thank you so much for your time and consideration, but after some thought I've decided to stay in my current role".
posted by so fucking future at 10:45 AM on October 19, 2017

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