Backing out of a job at the last minute

  • Thread starter ultimateguy
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  • #1
I worked for a particle physics experiment last summer. I have now just graduated and am supposed to continue working on that same project this Monday. I've determined that what I'm really interested in is medical physics. I just received an offer from a professor in medical physics to do a summer job with him, that would most likely lead to an MSc. with him.

This is my only opportunity to do an MSc. in the field that I want. However, doing this means that I have to turn down my other supervisor on Monday, when he is under the impression that I'm working for him for the summer. I feel horrible about doing this, especially on the first day that I'm supposed to work, but I really feel that I just can't pass up this opportunity. I fear that my other supervisor will be very angry. Is there any way I can break the news to him lightly?

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  • #2
I'd just break the news similar to how you did here. Its honest and seems to explain it well. He probably won't like it but you have to look out for yourself first in a situation like this.
  • #3
did you sign some contract with him?
Most of contracts that I signed wanted me to inform them one week prior to leaving that job.

Emailing/meeting him before Monday would be better and I think providing him with an alternative candidate would also help (or ask for this responsibility), or say you can volunteer during your free time .. ?
  • #4
if there's no legal backlash do it and don't look back. only opportunity to get a MSc is a pretty strong motivator.
  • #5
First, is there any chance you'll ever NEED to work with this person again or get a letter of reference from him for something in the future? If so, be careful not to burn bridges. On the other hand, if you have an opportunity to do something more closely related to your interests, you don't want to miss out on that. I think the best approach is to call him and explain the situation as you have here (don't do it by email or just not show up...TALK to him either on the phone or in person). Perhaps you can work out something where you can still help finish up the project you started, or at least help transition someone new into the project, if your help is really needed without interfering with the other position you'll be starting. For example, maybe you can put in a little time after regular hours or on weekends on the project.
  • #6
Definitely listen to your head. You never want to be regretting a past decision. As for your supervisor, if he is an intelligent man (as I would imagine) he will listen to reason. And I am sure he doesn't want you working for him unless your whole head is into it. Good Luck!

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