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I found myself very lucky to come home from a series of interviews with 4 job offers from 4 different groups within the same institution. Without making this personal, the institute is focused on collaborative research so these groups all work closely together and often interact on a day-to-day basis.

In any race there has to be a winner, but it was incredibly difficult to choose; I value each group and their respective approaches to their science greatly. In the end I chose the job that seemed to fit my career goals the best and the supervisor that I felt I would get along best with.

Since my decision was made and upon starting my new job, I have run into one of the supervisors, whose job offer I turned down, roughly twice a week. In each of these interactions, he makes some snide comment about me not taking his job offer - it is literally the only thing he can think of to say to me during our brief conversations. I respect this man for the wonderful scientist that he is but I'm frequently frustrated by these interactions, and I can't go on like this.

How do I help him recognize that he's harping on this issue, and how do I remain steadfast as he tries to make me feel like I made a bad choice?

  • When this person makes those snide remarks, what is your reaction ? Are you ignoring them or deflecting them as a joke ? Also, when he mekes those remarks, is your current boss within the ear-shot of this conversation ? If yes, what is he saying about them ? If not, have you considered talking to him about it ? – MelBurslan Jul 18 '16 at 15:06
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    Seems like you made the right choice not to go work for that guy! – HLGEM Jul 18 '16 at 15:41
  • Just don't let it frustrate you. It is only words. In a backwards way it is kind of a compliment. – paparazzo Jul 18 '16 at 16:06
  • @MelBurslan I've been kind to him, basically laughing them off. I just spoke with my current boss on your advice, and it seems that I'm being a bit too sensitive about the comments - supposedly this person who has been making these comments (call him Bob) and my current boss are good friends. In fact, my boss was Bob's graduate student at one point. My boss tells me that he's playfully teasing me. I guess I just didn't understand the situation, but who would with no context, right?? – Emil_Longshore Jul 18 '16 at 17:03
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Change the subject - start asking him about his work, what he's passionate about doing, his alma mater. Anything to show that you want your relationship to move beyond what it is now.

He obviously wanted you as a team member, and is feeling a bit bummed about you not taking his offer, but that's all he can think about because that's all that he associates with you right now. Start drawing his attention away from that, and to something else.

  • Thank you for your suggestions - I will try to ask him about his work in more detail and focus our conversations more on him than me. I think this will help mollify the awkwardness. I guess what I'm still unclear about is how to read such situations - according to my current boss, the comments were supposed to be funny. I can see that now but these few times when I didn't recognize them as jokes made me pretty uncomfortable and frozen – Emil_Longshore Jul 18 '16 at 17:06

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