BLUF: Is the table open to renegotiate or is it OK to now decline a job offer I previously accepted?

I am due to start a new job very soon. I just had a conversation with HR from the new company who told me the person I was going to report to has been terminated, and the person who was going to be my direct will now be my boss. We both acknowledged that this is not the job I interviewed for. I gave notice to my current employer a while ago.

<edit> I interviewed for Senior Engineer of Dept. X, reporting to the Director of Engineering of all Departments. Because of the changes, if I go to this job now, I will be just Engineer in Dept. X, as an IC with 2 peers, reporting to the new Senior Engineer of Dept. X. So the change is that I will be an IC, rather than a Manager, plus I will most likely not be involved in the upper level meetings that the VP will be running now that there is no Director. One of the reasons I accepted the job offer was to be involved with the big picture issues so I could use my knowledge and skill to help drive improvements and change.</edit>

Can I renegotiate? Can I tell them no? Is it OK to go back to my current employer and tell them I changed my mind? I feel like my professional obligation has been lifted now that the job role is not what I accepted in the offer.

I know there are many more details than what I can put in here. I can share more in a private conversation.

patrickscribner's picture

I'm confused on what about the position has changed other than the person to whom you're reporting and who is going to be reporting to you?  Based upon your description I don't see how the fundamentals of the position that you accepted has changed?   

markbyantaylor's picture

 It sounds like you firmly believe that the role that you have been accepted for and what now exists are not the same.

I would strongly recommend looking at your contract/ job spec to see if anything is different from the documentation.  You may find that, from the documentation, nothing has actually changed - you still have the same responsibilities and account abilities.  Then again, if as you say in the edit that your actual job title is now different then you will need your documentation updating.

That being said, either way you are in a position to ask the company for a meeting to review and discuss.  Sit down with them and go over your concerns (perceived or actual) and give them an opportunity to respond.

If there is some re-shuffling going on - this might actually be a superb opportunity to get in there and shine (and just up the ladder a little quicker).



mattpalmer's picture

 Based on the information in your edit, I'd say you're well within your rights to reject (politely, of course) the revised job offered to you -- that seems like a fairly open-and-shut sort of thing.  As Mark says above, you can always shoot for the position that's opened up, using pretty much what you said in your edit.  You're looking for the "next step" in your career, being involved in the decision making and systemic improvements; if you really sell your desire there, who knows what might fall out?  You won't get if you don't ask.

The other side of things is the old job, and getting it back.  There isn't really enough info there to know whether you've burnt your bridges with the old job or what might go on there.  It *might* be a good opportunity for a frank discussion with your old boss about what you want out of your career, assuming you didn't do the smart thing and talk with your old boss about where you wanted to go *before* you went looking.  You could even explain pretty much the *entire* situation as it's happened ("I want to go in this direction, I thought that job would offer it, they yanked the rug out...") and your boss might be keen to help you realise that goal.  On the other hand, now that you've shown your "disloyalty" (it isn't, but that's the natural feeling for your old boss to have) you might either not get your old job back at all, or you might not be given any opportunities because you're seen as a flight risk... but that all depends on how you went about leaving the old job.