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It’s Okay to Say No

Guest Blogger Katie Farrell provides us her thoughts on the job search process. Check out her previous posts regarding staying sane while searching for jobs and navigating the job interview process.

In today’s competitive job market and unrelenting recession it doesn’t seem like a good idea to reject a job offer. But that’s exactly what I did a couple months ago and I’m here to tell you that sometimes it’s better to say no.

I did not have the experience this particular employer was looking for and was very surprised when they called me for an interview. Not sure of what the job was (I apply for so many jobs sometimes I forget individual job descriptions), I looked at the job description again and my heart sank. The job itself seemed like a terrible fit for me and I did not have the specific qualifications they wanted. The closer the interview was, the more I was convinced I would crash and burn. And crash and burn I did (or so I thought).

I admit I went into the interview with negative thoughts, so I was already biased but when I was actually at the interview, I didn’t have a good connection with the interviewers and the feeling in my gut only became worse. When they asked me specifics about my qualifications, I felt uncomfortable because it was very obvious to me I did not have what they were looking for. However, I plodded along with my answers, feeling more uneasy with every response. Those were some of the longest 40 minutes of my life.

When I left the interview, I felt defeated, not because I knew I blew a great opportunity but because I felt like I did a bad job and even though the position was not one I was interested in, I still wanted to make a good impression. I was convinced I wouldn’t get the job but told myself that if for some odd reason they offered it to me, I would decline the offer (but I was completely convinced I wouldn’t have to deal with this situation). I’d like to also point out that this job was not only a bad fit for me but it only lasted a year and a half and required me to move 4 hours away to a significantly smaller city.

Surprisingly, they called me the next day. I had my speech all planned for when they told me they had selected another candidate. However, that is not what I heard on the phone. They were making me an offer! My head started spinning and I could barely hear what was happening. Here, someone on the other end of my phone was offering me something that I had wanted for so long, a full-time job with a paycheck. All I had to do was say yes and my goal at finding employment would have been met. It would have been so easy to say yes but I knew in my gut that I couldn’t accept this offer. There were so many reasons that I couldn’t accept this job but the one I relied on the most was this overwhelming feeling that told me not to take the job. I was once told by someone that if you are ever in a position where you must decline an offer, just say, “Thank you for the opportunity but this just isn’t a good fit for me.��? And that is exactly what I said. It wasn’t offensive, it didn’t go into detail, but it got my point across and I’m so thankful I heard that advice. I later wrote them a formal thank you letter, never explaining why I didn’t take the job, just reiterating the fact that I was thankful for the opportunity and it was a very difficult decision to make.

At first I questioned my decision. Why would I not take the only job I was offered after months of searching? It felt backward and some days I was convinced I would never get another job offer again. But when I pictured myself at that job, I knew I had made the right decision. I know not everyone can afford to decline a job offer but if your gut is telling you no and you can wait a little longer, then declining the offer may be a good idea. Now that I’ve had more time to reflect, I am positive that I made the right decision and want to let everyone know that sometimes saying no is the best solution.

Blog post created by Katie Farrell