I noticed that a couple of people already have offers from places. CONGRATULATIONS!! Just out of curiousity, how long are these places giving you to make a decision? It seems so early to get an offer, lots of places haven't even started their review of applications.
Date: 02 Dec 2009 15:40
Number of posts: 10
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I had a really early offer and they gave me 9 days to reply, five business days and two weekends. I am finding it difficult to make a decision in this time slot, but i think its employer's market and they want to move quickly to their second candidate who is probably pretty strong, should i decline.
Have you had interest from other institutions? This is a tough decision. I had a co-worker a few years ago who got an early offer and turned it down. Luckily she had other interviews lined up and ended up getting what she found to be a better offer for her. Is there any way to negotiate for more time? Maybe try to get them to give you until after the holidays.
Sadly, the market this year doesn't really allow you a lot of wiggle room, if you have no further interviews planned, and you're willing to do the job (if you're not willing to do the job you really shouldn't apply for it) then you should accept the offer unless you're able (and willing) to support yourself for the next year if things don't go as hoped (a very real possibility this cycle). I've heard of people given as little as 3 days (told thursday, answer expected by end of day monday) in the past, so honestly 9 days isn't awful as it gives you time to check your other leads (in theory anyways).
Congrats on the offer!
One possible stall tactic is to state that your spouse has to see the area (if you are not currently living there). A friend of mine used it successfully last year. It can buy two to three weeks.
Accept the offer. If you do get something better later, you shouldn't feel obligated to keep your side of the bargain. Politely back out with some bogus excuse (e.g., can't sell the house). Happens all of the time in the real-world (i.e., outside of academia). Trust me, if the hiring department suddenly loses funding for your position, they will nix your job either immediately or after 1 year. And don't think they'll go after you if you back out. It's far too costly for them to pursue you, and they won't win anyways. You can always resign from a job. Use whatever power/flexibility you have right now to your advantage.
Don't feel obligated to keep up your side of the bargain and give a bogus lie only if you are comfortable operating outside of reasonable ethical standards. The fact is if you take a job that you intend on screwing over 2-4 weeks down the road than you are not only hurting the institution but the other candidates that actually want that job.
The reason it happens all the time outside of academia is because the 'real world' isn't nearly as narrow a group and in some ways not as concerned with moral/ethical integrity. Trust me…word of burnt bridges and questionable judgment concerning dishonesty will follow you within psychology circles.
You'd be surprised how little these things affect people, even in academia. It's not worth the hassle to wreck somebody's life just because they did something like back out of a job acceptance. This is especially true if the offender provides a reasonable excuse for not being able to follow through with the commitment.