burned a bridge?

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burned a bridge?

Postby Yvonne » Tue Jan 25, 2005 11:53 am

Here is my question: Is it possible to mend bridges? I got an offer in the field of science administration from a prominent organization, but for personal reasons (pregnancy and completely unexpected military deployment of my husband) I turned it down. I apologized in a letter and did not hear back.
The group that offered me the job is a good fit for me in terms of my research& interests, and I have known some of them for several years on a professional level. I feel bad about having to turn down the offer and would like to try to approach the group again but don't know if I can do so.
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Why interview if one is thinking along...

Postby Charles » Tue Jan 25, 2005 1:10 pm

the lines of not taking a job due to a pregancy? Just curious about that time-line.

burned a bridge?

Postby Bill L. » Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:31 pm


It isn't clear that you've necessarily burned a bridge. You sound like you behaved professionally, you just didn't take a position offered to you for personal reasons. It happens, and people usually don't hold it against you. If those reasons are no longer an issue, and if another position opened up, it would be reasonable to apply.

In the meantime, you might want to strengthen connections: That is, call those contacts at the organization, and ask to grab a cup of coffee and reconnect.

Be well,

Bill L. & Naledi S.
Bill L.
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Why interview if one is thinking along...

Postby Kim » Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:53 pm

A Reverse Case:

Person X was interviewed in the biotech company Y. However, later the job at company Y was offered to someone else. Is this considered a \"burned bridge\"? Can Person X apply to a similar job in the same division (most likely the same hiring manager) again?
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Why interview if one is thinking along...

Postby Bill L. » Tue Jan 25, 2005 3:01 pm


The answer is yes, you can apply to the same company, same hiring manager, different position. Consider the positive case scenario: there were multiple strong candidates, but the employer could only choose one. Usually people consider the negative scenario: I was a weak candidate and they didn't want me. But if you made it to an interview, there was probably something attractive about you, and if they invite you to interview again, they will signal to you that you are still a strong candidate in their eyes.

So go ahead an apply.

Be well,

Bill L. & Naledi S.
Bill L.
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Why interview if one is thinking along...

Postby Dave Jensen » Tue Jan 25, 2005 3:33 pm

I agree with the advice from others here, but must comment that sometimes people seem to be very hesitant to be in touch with others, due to either a "burned bridge" concern or the fact that they didn't get an offer.

My advice is that if you want a job with a company, apply to any and all openings, and not just via the mail or via a website. Call, talk to people you met in your interviewing, etc. Basically, the first interview gave you some additional knowledge that the job market competition may not have. Use it!

And with Danielle's burned bridge, to me that doesn't sound at all like a burned bridge. People's situations change. You need to be able, as Bill and Naledi suggest, to go back and start building those relationships again.

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"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
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Is it a good career decision

Postby Robbie » Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:56 pm

Because I have not found a permenant position, I have decided to do a post-doc in the same laboratory where I received my PhD. Do you think this is a wise career decision. How long is it okay to stay?

For Robbie

Postby Andy » Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:09 pm


I personally do not think it is a good idea to do a postdoc in the same lab that one did their PhD work in. My advice, if you have no other optioins at this time. Is to tell your current boss you'll stay 6 months, and in those months be looking to find a postdoc at another institution. If you're interested in moving to industry, find an institution and a PI with strong connections to industry.

Best wishes,


For Robbie

Postby Emil Chuck » Tue Jan 25, 2005 11:41 pm

I agree... you need to prove you are an independent scientist and not a clone of your graduate mentor. I would find a postdoc outside of your lab. It can be in a related or collaborating lab, but you need to establish your own independence from your past advisor.
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