My department head/line manager has offered me a change in role within our wider discipline, covering areas and responsibilities that he believes my strengths lie in. It means losing some areas of focus that I currently enjoy with my current role, but gaining experience and knowledge (hopefully supported properly) in tangentially, but associated, pieces of work (which I previously had not really considered).

However, due to recent holidays and sick days on my part over the last couple of weeks, and travelling on his part, he initially was able to speak to me only via phone on Thursday, giving me the weekend to review a draft job specification of this new role. It's now Tuesday evening and I was told this afternoon I must give him an answer tomorrow.

There are also external factors which, despite being assured they're unrelated, can't be ignored: redundancies and people leaving from roles that did the sort of work I would be taking on in this 'new' job, even though taking a step back, it does fit with my skillset.

Am I within my right to ask for longer than three working days to decide about this, or should have including the weekend given me enough time? How long is appropriate to ask for, and how can I phrase this?


You can ask for anything you want. The manager can also withdraw the offer. It's up to you if you want to comply with the timeframe or not. Not replying is pretty much saying 'No'.

So if you need the extra time, ask for it. The worst that can happen is they deny you.

Have I been given too short a notice to decide about new role opportunity?

Obviously not in the managers eyes. He/she wants the answer asap and in my opinion has given you enough time. One thing to watch out for is when being offered a new role like this, it can mean that they have a new role to fill. Or it can mean that your current role is being reviewed to be gotten rid of. So there is a possibility that if you don't take the new role it will work against you. You would know your situation better than me.

  • 1
    I'd upvote this twice if I could, especially that last paragraph. It's gold and something I wanted to work into my answer but you phrased it perfectly. – Chris E Sep 20 '17 at 1:28
  • 1
    Many thanks - I read your answers last night and went in today ready to accept the position and negotiate as needed. It turns out there was a mix up and I wasn't meant to be given a deadline - it was more of a conversation around where my career could go and what I could do in the meantime to support the change of staff. Thank you for your advice - this was my first question here and didn't mean to make it a downvoted one so appreciate your answering a lot. All a learning experience. – user23410 Sep 20 '17 at 19:25

You had 5 days to make the decision. I think your boss is being very reasonable. You call it "3 working days" but that's a ridiculous equivocation. You're trying to make it sound like it's less time than it is. Or do you expect people to believe you only think about this position during working hours.

Tough medicine time:

Put on your big-boy/big-girl pants and make a decision. Just make a flipping decision. If you can't decide by that deadline, maybe you're just not ready.

If I were in your boss' position, if you came to me and asked for an extension, I would withdraw the offer because indecision is not a positive quality. I would take anything other than "yes" as a no.

Bear this in mind as well: a lot of people take a rejection of an offer personally and he could hold it against you. I wouldn't, but I've seen it happen.

You asked if you're within your rights. Sure you are. Your boss is also within his rights to say, "Just never mind" and put you on the slow train to nowhere or the fast train to unemployment.

  • Thank you for your bluntness - I really needed it. I don't have anyone to turn to for workplace advice and being at the start of my career am inexperienced with knowing what's ok and what's not. Have commented further up but everything is ok for now. My concern was that moving into the role does change my career path and specialism into an area I don't think I have true interest in, and I felt I'd been rushed to make that decision. I'm sorry if it was a bad question for here. – user23410 Sep 20 '17 at 19:29
  • it's not a bad question, but my response is just how I am. I just wanted to relate my opinion that most reasonable people would see your situation as you having been rushed. Whether or not you want to take the change is one thing and should be the basis of the decision. I just wanted to express that I felt you were using the time given as an excuse not to make the decision. – Chris E Sep 20 '17 at 21:15
  • Yes you're right - perhaps that's true actually. I think I do shy away from the 'big' decisions, a bit indecisive but only because I'm maybe afraid of the commitment to something I might not enjoy and feel I've made a mistake, so feel it's 'better' to stay in the grey area. Thanks again & take care! – user23410 Sep 21 '17 at 19:42

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.