Hello there bloggies! Welcome to Trainee Tuesday!

Last week I did something mind-boggling. I decided to stop pursuing a possible job opportunity. The potential position was a staff scientist post in a great lab at a great university. I had exchanged a number of emails with the PI and even met with them in person. It would have been a great opportunity. It would have been my ticket to leaving my trainee status.

That is, it would have been a great opportunity if I were ready to fully commit to taking a step toward a career in academic research. As you can probably tell from me spending the past 10-plus months blogging about science and trainees, a career in science communication or at least alternative to academic research is something I am actively exploring.

Turning down a job, service, or any opportunity can be an awkward affair. You don’t want to offend anyone or ruin any possibilities in the future. You never know what the future holds.

Here are some things I try to keep in mind when turning something down:

Be timely

Don’t sit on the email, phone call, or meeting for weeks. You are waiting your own time, and your colleague’s time. It’s disrespectful, rude, and leaves a bad taste in your peer’s mouth.

Be honest

You have your reasons for not wanting to pursue this opportunity. The timing may not be right. You may be so swamped that you can’t make time to effectively serve on a committee. You may not want to move across the country. They are your reasons and perfectly valid. Let your colleague know and explain why this isn’t a good fit.

Be concise

While you are explaining these reasons though, do not write a novel. Get to the point. You are unable to pursue this opportunity because of X, Y, and Z. No one wants to read a 3 page emails, just to be disappointed by the ending message.

Be positive

Even though you no longer want to pursue this opportunity, take some time to be positive about it when you turn it down. Thank them for their time and consideration. Mention the reasons why you had taken the time to consider the opportunity. Maybe consider discussing how you could see this as having great potential but just not a great fit.

Be professional

Probably most importantly be professional in turning things down. Take a serious tone and do not waste the time of your colleague.

Thank you for stopping by Trainee Tuesday! How do you handle saying no to opportunities? Share with us in the comments below or on twitter @DrFsThoughts.

See you all later!

-Dr. F

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