Saying no to a new job

Today I said no to a new role within my current company. I work for a major multi-national and folks move jobs regularly, so it’s no surprise that one might be offered such a thing. However, saying no can be hard particularly when you are already looking for a new role as I am.

Why did I say no? Quite simply, it’s not the right role in the right area at the right grade.

My background is dual career commercial/deal delivery and IT programme delivery and right now I want to focus on the commercial side, as opposed to the IT side. My current role is a commercial one in support of our IT R&D department and therefore still a bit of both. I’m in the running for a new role which is the next grade up, purely commercial and in support of our end business ‘in the field’ as opposed to a central function. The one offered today was a pure IT role and again, in support of another central function, whilst also being the same grade that I am at present.

Easy choice then? No, not really – I had a number of difficulties saying no:

  • The IT role was a firm offer, whereas the commercial one is still open and I am on the shortlist for;
  • It was genuinely interesting with scope to expand and develop the role as I saw fit (although they all say this though don’t they);
  • The role fits my IT career path quite nicely and therefore gives me safety if something happens in my present organisation and I need to go back into the external market;
  • My line manager is legendary – hard and firm but top talent in herself and develops her staff to the best of their capabilities;
  • The team is great, and proportionally female which is rare in IT; and
  • I would be based just a 15 minute cycle ride from home.

So why did I say no? First of all, let me say that the decision to decline was a joint one between myself and my would be manager after an honest discussion of my goals and objectives.


  • I want to focus on the commercial side of my career for a while, indefinitely really;
  • The commercial role I’m after is a promotion and directly ‘in the field’;
  • It would be personally as well as professionally challenging;
  • Again, it is a promotion – my would be manager’s advice was that you should always go for the promotion over a sideways move where possible in this organisation;
  • My professionally credibility and standing within this industry would be significantly amplified through success in the role;
  • My heart and my gut tell me to go for the commercial role, even though it’s not a given; and
  • I am in a personal situation to pursue a role in the field right now whereas I might not be in 5-10 years time.

Thankfully my would be manager has left the door firmly wide open. Be it a case that I don’t get the commercial role and therefore want to have another conversation, or even that I do get the role and then want to come back into IT when I’ve finished the assignment. She will support me and has offered to help me in either case. Pretty cool eh?

So, what’s the moral of the story readers? Listen to your gut and make sure you keep the door open. I truly believe that by having an open discussion with this leader, as opposed to just saying thanks but no thanks, I have enabled many more opportunities down the line than I may ever have had otherwise. Now I just have to make sure I get the commercial role!

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