I'm in a confusing gray area where I accepted an offer at a new company and then gave my notice at my current company, but now my current employer is fighting hard to keep me. They've agreed to solve almost all the reasons I wanted to leave in the first place, and I trust their commitment and the time scale they say they can have the problems fixed in. I also have a lot of positive feelings for my current company, whereas the new company is (like any new company would be) more of an unknown. Basically, I wish I had known that my problems were solvable before I started my job search so that I could have pushed for solutions more aggressively without applying to a bunch of new jobs. (Lesson learned: it always pays to ask for what you want.)

If I want to renege on the offer I've signed, what's the best way to tell the employer without burning that bridge completely in case I ever want to work for them in the future?

  • 3
    Beware employers who promise changes just to keep you around. Now that they know you have been looking for jobs, it's possible they are telling you what you want to hear, until they can find someone to replace you.
    – mcknz
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 22:35
  • @gerty3000: It would be helpful if you could list at least serious problems that make you to leave your current employer here so that you could get better help.
    – samarasa
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 22:36
  • @samarasa Actually it doesn't really help solve the question. The OP is simply asking how to withdraw from a contract, not how to resolve the issues in their current job as that has been resolved to their satisfaction already.
    – Jane S
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


There is no sure fire way to do it that won't burn bridges (and quite probably will), but what you can do is to simply say that your personal circumstances have changed and you will be unable to commence in your new role.

Nowhere in the book does it say you have to tell them where you are going, or staying in your current job. The simple statement about your personal circumstances is truthful and doesn't give away anything you don't want to.

Be aware that regardless, you have quite probably damaged your likelihood of getting an interview or a job with them again, but depending on the size of the organisation it may or may not have an effect.

  • 3
    One thing I would add is that if you're going to back out on the offer you accepted, do it as soon as possible. The closer it gets to your start date before you break the news, the more inconvenience you will cause, and therefore the more completely you will burn those bridges. Commented May 28, 2015 at 2:03
  • Excellent point, I completely agree!
    – Jane S
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 2:05

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