I liked my job, but an opportunity at another department opened up, which I decided to take. This was approved all the way up the chain, and I have to start soon. They are still searching for my position. Its been a month since this approval happened. I still haven't started my new job but the planning has took place. But now I don't think I should have asked for this internal transfer, I would have got promoted faster if I would have stuck to my old position and the work was more interesting too. What do I do now? If I ask it to be taken back, I come across as a flip flopper and it may hurt my promotion at my old job as well. I drag myself at work each day and feel anxious.

They gave me my list of responsibilities and they suck big time. I feel really disappointed. In my old role I had a lot more visibility and engagement with various teams.

  • 2
    Can you expand the reasons why you decided to take the opportunity at the other department in the first place as this is unclear
    – Mike
    Nov 13, 2015 at 16:20
  • What was it about the transfer position that appealed to you? You say you liked your job, the work was more interesting, and promotion was faster, but you decided to transfer to another job. Why? There must have been a really good reason to leave such a good position. What changed? What will it cost you to stop the transfer? Is it even possible to stop the transfer? Does your boss want you back?
    – Mohair
    Nov 13, 2015 at 16:27
  • It my was mentor who pushed me toward it (not to blame him completely) and at that time I thought it was a good idea as that department makes the most amount of money. However, I just didnt think it all through. The new department folks are more powerful, and i think if I tried to stop the transfer, I could either loose my job or get transferred to some place horrible and become a laughing stock.
    – Cray
    Nov 13, 2015 at 16:57
  • 1
    @Cray Consider editing your question to include that information. It should help get answers. Also, why would it matter that you are working for the department that makes the most money?
    – Mohair
    Nov 13, 2015 at 17:05
  • 1
    "I come across as a flip flopper" To put it straight, you're not just coming across as one, you ARE a flip flopper, if you decline now.
    – Chris
    Oct 23, 2019 at 7:16

2 Answers 2


I thought this was a duplicate but it turns out I was remembering an answer from Alison Green over at Ask A Manager. Rather than paraphrase her thoughts, I'll just reproduce them in their entirety since they perfectly match your situation (#1 at the link):

Oooof, this is tricky. Rightly or wrongly, if you proactively apply for an internal promotion, it’s usually pretty much assumed that you want it and will take it if offered, as long as long as you can come to terms on salary and other details; they’ll assume that as an insider you know enough about the culture and the role that you wouldn’t be going after it if you didn’t really want it.

That doesn’t mean that you’re stuck taking this job, but it does mean that you should be prepared to talk about what changed your mind and how you see your future there. It’s possible that it will change the way you’re seen and/or what opportunities you’re offered there in the future, but it’s hard to say that for sure without knowing more about what your reasons are, and why things played out the way they did (i.e., why you didn’t realize you didn’t want the job until now).

TL;DR You don't have to accept, but that kind of flip-flop can damage your reputation and torpedo future chances of internal advancement.

Now specifically for your situation: the one thing you can still try is to go to your current manager and mention what you said here: how you were looking forward to the transfer to get more responsibility/experience/whatever but that you realised that you would likely perform better in the position you are thinking of in your current role. Then discuss if it makes sense for you to apply for that promotion early instead of transferring.

Note: I'm assuming that when you say promotion that you do mean an actual promotion, implying that the transfer is a lateral move. If that is not the case or you're talking about receiving a raise earlier then you can't really make that argument.

  • I didnt tell my old manager initially but she found out which made her very upset. I spoke to her recently with the intention of apologizing and check if I could come back. I couldnt ask the second question, as I knew I would put her in a hard spot. The new department is more powerful and her bosses wouldnt want to discuss this with them over me now. And if I tried to go back I am scared the new guys will damage my career. I spoke to a guy at the new department discreetly and he said these guys will never let it happen. I cant sleep at night and keep ruminating over what I did.
    – Cray
    Nov 13, 2015 at 17:03
  • 2
    Well it's unfortunate but from what you describe you've already come to the realization that you can't realistically go back. Your safest bet is probably to try and make the most of the new position and start an (external) job search if you're unhappy in it.
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 13, 2015 at 17:07
  • Thanks, my colleagues think I am an idiot having done all this. I dont like facing people now and I feel all alone in this mess. I was so happy till I did any of this. I have lost my confidence as well.
    – Cray
    Nov 13, 2015 at 17:14
  • 1
    @cray: we all make decisions that in hind sight appear to be the wrong ones. The thing is at the time you made the best decision you could with the information you had. Now you need to follow through and do the best you can with where you are at.
    – NotMe
    Nov 13, 2015 at 17:22
  • I havent been like this ever. I shouldnt have been so impulsive to jump at this. I didnt even discuss this with anyone or list down everything to consider. And it happened so fast like within a week. It didnt even hit me then. It hit me like 2-3 weeks later when it settled down and colleagues started talking that he made a really poor decision. I gave my detractors an opportunity to laugh at me.
    – Cray
    Nov 13, 2015 at 17:43

OK first, you don't know if it is poor decision, you haven't even started the job. Just because others are saying it is may only mean they are jealous they didn't get selected or they are hurt that you abandoned them. It may not mean the job itself is a bad fit for you. You need to stop caring so much about what other people think and letting it upset you or make you second guess yourself.

Politically, it is bad idea to try to get out of this. You have made people mad at you in one place, if you try to backtrack all you will do is make many more people upset with you.

So smile, put on your big girl panties and cope as we women say or big boy briefs, I guess, if you are male (somehow that doesn't have the same ring to it, men what is the phrase you would use that is the equivalent of put on your big girl panties?), and go do your new job wholeheartedly and try to make the best of the situation. You made the choice, you need to accept the consequences of the choice you made and try your best to make it work. If it turns out to be a truly bad fit after you have given it at least 6 months, then look for another job and do not rush to take the first one offered.

  • Thanks, that is helpful. I have been mopey the last 2 weeks and just need someone to say that I haven't done something wrong. I know the political bit is going to kill me, so that's the only option left I guess. Well I somehow know deep inside that it wasn't the right decision. Mainly because I had a lot of leverage at my old job and I gave it all up. Now I feel powerless without any leverage and fear that I could have to do work that is below my level, which I worked hard to get to. It's just the feeling that I gave it all up at the wrong time.
    – Cray
    Nov 13, 2015 at 18:34
  • You will build up the leverage in your new position and if they are truly a more powerful group, you could end up with more leverage than you had. You start over with these issues anytime you take a new job, internally or externally so don't let it bother you. It is a normal part of moving to a new position.
    – HLGEM
    Nov 13, 2015 at 19:06
  • One male equivilent would be "man up".
    – Myles
    Nov 23, 2015 at 14:45
  • I was mulling over whether to accept a job opportunity last summer and a friend who I consulted for advice said to me: "whatever decision you make you will be okay." That may sound trite, but I think it's true. Just like Christopher Robin says, "You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Nov 23, 2015 at 22:21
  • I feel scared about this new job
    – Cray
    Nov 25, 2015 at 16:09

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