Turning Down that Dream Job

2 min read

Your boss calls you in and finally offers you that dream job. But guess what? Post Covid-19, you have intellectually moved on. No longer is it important to work weekends and those 60-hour weeks to get ahead of the pack. You’ve learned how to be still and realize the importance of having a life.

Many people have decided it is more important now to settle down close to their extended family and not relocate any longer. Put down roots. Nothing wrong with that.

So now what?

Everyone’s ambitions and goals in life have been reordered post-Covid. We have different priorities. We finally have control; not the employers. Not Corporate America. YOU are in control now.

Your response to no longer being interested in the promotion to the foreign office or some other big opportunity should be carefully thought out. There is sort of a conversational mapping puzzle to how you arrange the words and paragraphs of what your response should be. Not coming across the right way could kill your career. Write it down. Rehearse it. Discuss it with your spouse. Close friends.

Be honest. Be authentic. And the only way you can pull this off is if you have already thought everything through…the plusses and negatives, completely. Once you make the decision, you own it. Extremely.

One way is to have a direct conversation with your supervisor and simply say, “I have thought this through and I have decided to pass on this opportunity for personal reasons.” Then tell him/her how much you appreciate their understanding and how you look forward to continuing on in your present role. That’s it. Say it with conviction and that will be the end of it.

It’s good that you start this process of self-discovery and self-awareness sooner than later so that if/when an opportunity comes along, you can pull yourself from contention early in the process. An employer will get very upset if you wait until the end of the process to explain your position. It could be a career-limiting move at that point.

A good friend of mine who worked at a well-known global consulting firm in WDC waited until the very end of the promotion process and he ended up getting restructured out of the company the following hiring season. Yet a candidate that I had placed with a major insurance broker in Baltimore expressed his change of heart during his annual review last spring and he has been transferred to a less stressful department where he is actually thriving now. The timing is big.

It’s okay to put family, health, and mental well-being ahead of longstanding professional dreams. But if you do, own it with conviction. And everyone will live and work happily ever after.


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