How to gracefully withdraw from Job A
June 24, 2022 7:10 AM   Subscribe

I have a more preferred offer in my hands now, I need to rescind my Job A acceptance.

I accepted an offer letter from job A last week. This week, a Real Opportunity showed up at Job B. I need some concise, courteous, graceful email text to send to my Job A interview team and HR contacts. Thoughts?
posted by j_curiouser to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I apologize for the inconvenience, but my circumstances have changed and I will not be able to take the position. Thank you so much for your consideration. Best,

Make sure the new position is rock-solid.
Every employer will withdraw an offer, lay people off, reduce salaries/ schedules, and otherwise meet their business needs with no concern about the effect on employees. You owe them courtesy and telling them as soon as possible. That's it. The courtesy helps when you're in the same industry.
posted by theora55 at 7:16 AM on June 24, 2022 [24 favorites]

Best answer: If you want to keep a good relationship with Company A, then this isn't an email, it's a phone call.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:27 AM on June 24, 2022 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Yes, get the offer in writing, accept it, review the benefits, etc.
posted by amtho at 7:33 AM on June 24, 2022 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Nthing the suggestion to make doubly, triply sure you do have the offer from Job B - you need at minimum a written offer that includes a start date and some indication of what the company will do if their offer is withdrawn or put on hold after you sign on. Back in December, one of my friends signed an offer with a January 2022 start date contingent upon the employer's new office location opening on schedule, and has still not started the new role because the employer never got the right permits to open their office. It was an incredible stroke of foresight that my friend didn't put in notice at the old job! Most people would think it's safe to do that once the offer letter is signed and processed. Like, my friend has a login to the company systems and everything. Even got office supplies and a laptop. But because of the contingency clause in the offer letter, they can get away with not having to put my friend on the payroll.

Negotiating those written clauses may mean that you have to delay telling Job A that you are going to withdraw. This is fine and not at all unprofessional. Even if you have to wait until you have already started working for Job A, even if it means you end up quitting Job A two weeks after starting, that is totally fine and fully within the bounds of professionalism. (Yes, job A might be peeved, but that doesn't mean your actions are unprofessional or wrong. You're not doing anything that employers wouldn't.)

So, to recap, please wait until you have written confirmation from Job B (including a start date + written commitments on what will happen if they withdraw the offer or put it on hold) before you withdraw from Job A.

Some scripts you can use to withdraw from Job A:

"Dear Job A, I am writing to respectfully decline your offer to join as [Role] in your [Team]. I deeply appreciate the chance to meet your team and get to know the incredible work you are doing. I particularly enjoyed our conversation on [yadda yadda] during which I learned a lot about [blah blah]. I'm sure it would have been both challenging and rewarding to work with you; however I have unexpectedly been offered a role which is an even better fit for my career goals. I wish you all the very best in finding the right candidate for [Role] and in [specific company goal]. Sincerely, [your name]."

"Dear Job A, I am writing to inform you that I am resigning from [Role] in [Team]. I deeply appreciate the opportunity to work with you, and even in these few short weeks I have learned a great deal from everyone here. However, I have unexpectedly been offered a role which is a much better fit for my career goals, and while I am sorry to be leaving this incredible team, I can't pass up this opportunity. My last day will be [date]. I wish you all the very best in finding the right candidate for [Role] and in [specific company goal]. Sincerely, [your name]."
posted by MiraK at 8:51 AM on June 24, 2022 [12 favorites]

Best answer: Yes, absolutely make sure that the offer is firm, in writing with a start date before notifying the first job. Once that is solid, call the first employer rather than email.
posted by fies at 10:09 AM on June 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've cancelled an acceptance for a position at a company before; 4 years later I wound up going back to them (I stayed for 8 years afterwards, so it was good). As long as you handle your communications professionally and with courtesy, I think you should be fine.

And, perhaps, if your Company A acts poorly for you doing this, it is a good indication that you probably don't want to work there anyway...
posted by coberh at 4:39 PM on June 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

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