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Can I Withdraw My Acceptance for a Job for a Position in the Same Company?

by Ruth Mayhew, studioD

Accepting an offer for a new job, even if it's with the same company, can be exciting and frightening at the same time. If you have already accepted the job and are transitioning into your new role, you might be able to withdraw your acceptance and return to your old job. Withdrawing your acceptance might be difficult though not likely to be impossible. Just be aware of how your decision will affect the organization and your career.


If you've requested or have been considered for a transfer or promotion with your current employer, congratulate yourself on being successful in determining the best place for your skills and qualifications. Many people stay in one job forever, never thinking about where their talents could be best used. If you received an offer to move to another department or into another position and realize that you no longer want the job, consider the reasons you accepted the job in the first place.

Skills and Qualfiications

If you want to withdraw your acceptance based on your skills and qualifications, you may have a hard time backing out of your commitment if you say that your skills set doesn't meet the employer's expectations. The obvious question from your employer will be, "Why did you initially believe you were qualified and why did you accept the job if you didn't think your qualifications match the job?" On the other hand, if you accepted the job and now realize that your qualifications exceed the skills required to do the job, discuss this with your boss. Express your apprehension about becoming restless in a job where your skills aren't fully used.


There could some intangible form of payback if your withdrawal creates a hardship for the company, such as your boss losing trust in your commitment to the company or the department. But you could be responsible for another form of payback. If you received a retention bonus for accepting the new position and you decide to not only withdraw your acceptance but you also decide to leave the company, naturally, you'll have to reimburse the employer.

Professional Reputation

Your career decisions are choices you have to live with and if you decide to withdraw your acceptance for that new job, it could affect your career. It might even cast a negative light on your decision-making capabilities and suggest that you can't be depended on for follow through. If you based your decision on the fear that you won't perform well, share those concerns with your boss or with the person who selected you for the job. Perhaps you can come up with a plan to evaluate your performance during the first few weeks on the job or you can ask your new boss for additional training to ensure that your performance is up to par.


It is difficult for an employer to count on having a qualified employee accept a job, only to discover that the company is back at square one to find a replacement. When it is a current employee who decides to withdraw from the new job, an employer might feel slighted. Based on the employment-at-will doctrine, your employer could simply say, "Well, we don't need you. Your old job has already been filled. I'm sorry but we have to let you go." At that point, you could immediately regret the decision to withdraw because of the dire consequences.

About the Author

Ruth Mayhew began writing in 1985. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry" and "Human Resources Managers Appraisal Schemes." Mayhew earned senior professional human resources certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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