Turned down offer. Big regrets.

Rach3's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 125

Hi everyone,

I recently turned down an opportunity with a small firm mainly due to salary (currently at a BB non-IB position with decent pay & hrs). The job sounded really interesting and I liked the people, but the pay offered was too low... After some talks, I ended up turning down the offer. But now a few days later, I'm having some big regrets. Any advice on how to get over this? I need to start applying to other opportunities and line up more interviews, but can't stop beating myself over this...

Thanks.

rejected job offer regret

Reflect on why you turned down the offer in the first place. Afterward, think of the pros and cons of your current position. You can analyze the situation but move forward. Indeed, you should make yourself available for opportunities that are more in line with your long-term career goals.

Thoughts from the community
from certified user @Going Concern

Always live your life with no regrets. Regret is an irrational focus on something you cannot change. Focus on what you can change. Learn what you need to from the past and then let it go.

from certified user @UFOinsider

* what pay is "too low". Too low to live on or too low for your current lifestyle?
* what job? If you're BB BO and get boutique FO....uhm, call them now and grovel to get that job
* how did you turn them down? Were you polite, or were you a condescending ass?
* are you in the running for any other jobs?
* do you have other options? (grad school, later transfer, etc)
* do you see the other job as giving you more recruiting options?

Maybe this will help your decision making: I went from making pretty good money in a dead end job to taking a huge cut to work in MM AM [started as temp] but got licensed, connected, and also got a decent company name on my resume....now people call me and I am in the running for better grad schools. I hate my boss and the pay at my current job sucks, but it offers WAY more options long term than my last job.

If you're just passing through, then go for the money. If you're making finance your career, then you have to take a long view. Do you want to be a servant at a big bank or a BOSS at a small bank? It's far easier to switch to the same job at different firms than to work through to different jobs at the same firm.

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Comments (23)

Jan 9, 2014

you don't think they'd reconsider if you came back and accepted the lower $s?

Jan 9, 2014

1.) This is non-buyer's remorse. Like buyer's remorse, only though you regret not buying something.
2.) Stay on the job hunt and sleep on it for 24 more hours. Then make your decision.
3.) There are other jobs out there, but you have a better sense of your prospects than we do, and ultraconservative ultrafrugal IP never advises people to turn down a job if they currently don't have one.

Jan 9, 2014

currently at a BB non-IB position with decent pay & hrs

...so sounds like he'd not only be leaving his higher paying job, but he'd be working probably an extra 20+hrs per week. Sounds like he's doing 40-50 now, if this is FO IBD, my guess is that jumps to 75-85 avg at least...

OP, if you're willing to suffer and sacrifice friendships / relationships and focus on nothing but work for the next 2 years, then go for it. If you're comfortable and like your free time / hobbies and would be upset about losing them, don't make the switch.

Jan 9, 2014

You did what you thought was best. If you have reconsidered, call them back up and take the job. My guess is they would take you if you explained that you had decided the opportunity was worth the reduction in pay.

If you just wish you had a better job but couldn't handle the pay, then keep looking.

Jan 9, 2014

Consider everything mentioned above, as well as this: don't second guess your decision-making too much. Think on it for a bit and remember why you turned it down. As well, remember the pros of your current job rather than just the cons of having turned down the other.

Try your best to see this from an objective viewpoint. Then decide how to move forward.

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Jan 9, 2014

It comes down to what you consider most important. Do you want to make a ton of money? Work less hours? Is the company culture really important to you? I once quit a job and took a MASSIVE (I'm talking 70k to 20k) hit in salary because I was really married to the culture and function of my new company. I had minor remorse for a few weeks, but I reminded myself what was most important to me at the time - the opportunity to switch into a new industry.

So think on it. I doubt they will say no if you come back and say you changed your mind (unless they had a ton of people lined up as second choices). Figure out what's most important to you right now, and don't worry too much about the long-term impact of this one choice. There are so many ways to get to where you want to be eventually - veering off the road isn't the end of the world. In fact, veering off the road and taking the plunge into a new opportunity might get you where you want to be faster.

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Jan 9, 2014

Questions for you:
* what pay is "too low". Too low to live on or too low for your current lifestyle?
* what job? If you're BB BO and get boutique FO....uhm, call them now and grovel to get that job
* how did you turn them down? Were you polite, or were you a condescending ass?
* are you in the running for any other jobs?
* do you have other options? (grad school, later transfer, etc)
* do you see the other job as giving you more recruiting options?

Maybe this will help your decision making: I went from making pretty good money in a dead end job to taking a huge cut to work in MM AM [started as temp] but got licensed, connected, and also got a decent company name on my resume....now people call me and I am in the running for better grad schools. I hate my boss and the pay at my current job sucks, but it offers WAY more options long term than my last job.

If you're just passing through, then go for the money. If you're making finance your career, then you have to take a long view. Do you want to be a servant at a big bank or a BOSS at a small bank? It's far easier to switch to the same job at different firms than to work through to different jobs at the same firm.

    • 2
Jan 9, 2014

Can you give us a little more info on the position? How long have you been at your current position?

One thing you should also consider (though I think that there is a crux at some point), is despite lower pay, sometimes the future value of a lower paying FO job (ie skills earned, network expanded, resume improvements) will be worth more to you in the long run. However, there is a point I think where even if it is a "FO" position, that given you currently work at a BB and have a decent network at your disposal, it would be better to wait and see what else turns up.

Best Response
Jan 9, 2014

Always live your life with no regrets. Regret is an irrational focus on something you cannot change. Focus on what you can change. Learn what you need to from the past and then let it go.

    • 3
Jan 9, 2014

Something tells me that had you taken it, you would be writing here asking for advice on how to let go of the resentment that you feel towards senior management because you're getting worked and you feel as though they don't value you based on the offer they made you.

I know because I'm living that right now as i look to make my next move. You'll be fine long term. Don't let the anxiety figure into your decision making process going forward. Go read some James Altucher blog posts. Helped me.

    • 2
Jan 9, 2014

Thanks everyone for your comments. Part of me wants to really call them back and ask if they'd still take me, but I don't think it would make sense to call them back since: 1) I don't want to seem wishy washy and 2) I would have no control over negotiating salary (right? Wouldn't make sense to renegotiate...) and would have the lowball salary (with which I could probably not live in NYC). I gues I'll have to let it go and learn from the mistake...

Jan 10, 2014

Why wouldn't you negotiate? There's nothing to lose. If it is as low as you say to the point where you can't live on it, then there's definitely a reason to try asking for a higher base. Even if they can't increase your base salary, they might be able to throw in some extras to make it worth your while (like a higher sign-on bonus).

Jan 10, 2014

Really, you think so? That doesn't seem so appropriate to me... Turning down, changing mind, asking for the offer back, yet won't accept the offer they first offered? What do other think?

Jan 10, 2014
Rach3:

Really, you think so? That doesn't seem so appropriate to me... Turning down, changing mind, asking for the offer back, yet won't accept the offer they first offered? What do other think?

Uh, it makes perfect sense to me. You turned it down because it wasn't paying enough, and I assume you told them that the salary didn't fit your number. Just be honest - tell them that you really like the company and position, but due to [debt, personal goals, etc] you have a specific number in mind for the next step in your career. Ask if they could possibly increase your salary.

HR gets it - we all have specific needs and wants when we pursue a new job (otherwise, we'd be content to stay at our old ones). You obviously want a new job because of the opportunities, but salary is also important to you. Tell them that! They aren't mind readers. Every time I've negotiated salary, I've been able to get an increase. At my current job, they bumped me up an additional 2k a year. At my new job, they gave me an additional 3k in sign-on bonus. No, that's not a lot, but it's 3k in free cash that I didn't have originally!

You'd be surprised how flexible some companies can be if you ask nicely and have a logical reason for needing more money ("cost of living" is a perfectly logical one).

Jan 10, 2014

I'd honor my gut feeling and move on.
I agree that this could turn from a clean break into an awkward situation if you really want to renegotiate on salary.
My reasoning would be: if you got an offer for a job once, chances are high you'd get a comparable (or better) offer at another firm in the future.
Yes, there are these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities but this doesn't sound like one.

Jan 10, 2014

The decision shouldn't solely rely on compensation but rather the whole package i.e. exit ops, skill development, culture, passion, career desires. If the position will help launch you into your ideal career, than I would reconsider your decision. I turned down a Strategy offer a few months ago and am beginning to regret it because I am realizing that it would have helped my long-term career. I was too shortsighted when I did not accept the role.

    • 1
Jan 10, 2014

Fully agree. I just meant that if he wants to come back to negotiate on salary after potentially having mentioned it already before, this does not put him in a good position and might leave a bad impression with the people at the firm. If he's willing to accept that they might not change their offer but he's convinced of the prospects, then coming back is an option that simply needs to be handled with care.

Jan 10, 2014

Had a friend in a similar situation. He took an very low analyst offer (45k in NYC) from a new fundless sponsor. Worked his butt off for 1.5 years, lived in Brooklyn, and made it work on such a low salary. He is deciding between 4 associate PE offers right now.

In short, I think you totally messed up.

Jan 11, 2014
leveragebro:

Had a friend in a similar situation. He took an very low analyst offer (45k in NYC) from a new fundless sponsor. Worked his butt off for 1.5 years, lived in Brooklyn, and made it work on such a low salary. He is deciding between 4 associate PE offers right now.

In short, I think you totally messed up.

1.) Hindsight is certain; foresight isn't. Your friend's luck at landing in PE may not translate into OP's.
2.) Turning down a $100K/year job as a risk manager for a $30K/year job as a secretary is "total mess up". Turning down a $400K/year 70 hour/week career in PE for a $200K/year 40 hour/week career as a risk manager isn't necessarily. Sometimes there are things like friends, weekends, and fun activities that are more important than money that is now getting taxed at 50%, and whose tax rate will likely only increase.
3.) The one thing that can beat a $45K/year IBD job is a $80K/year IBD job, which OP now has the opportunity to pursue. Just as long as the Fed doesn't taper too quickly and long-term rates remain low to help with more deals.
4.) Oh, btw rates are probably going up over the next ten years. That may not be auspicious for PE.

We can argue the pros and cons of this decision, but it's hard to characterize it a total mess-up. OP needs to just focus on getting to the front office.

Jan 12, 2014

Thanks for all your input. After sleeping on it for 5 nights, I am feeling better about my decision. I'm just going to have to learn to trust my gut feeling. Also, I'm in AM at a BB and the role I turned down was at a FoHF. Not interested in getting to the front office in IBD. :-)

Jan 11, 2014

If you feel like you want the offer back, call them up and let them know. Worst case scenario, they say no. If you are still not sure if you would have wanted the position, hold out until you find something you are sure you want.

Jan 12, 2014
    • 1
Jan 12, 2014