I am PhD student in my final months, and I know that I don’t want to stay in academia forever. However, I wouldn’t mind doing a postdoc for two or three years, because I really like the academic work.
I have written a postdoctoral fellowship proposal together with my potential future host. The host has agreed to fund 1 year from her own funds, while the fellowship pays for another year. A few days ago, I have been awarded this fellowship.
In the meantime, I have also applied for industry positions (as I wasn’t sure whether I get the fellowship), have recently had an interview and just now I got a job offer ready to sign.
Now, I have to choose between the two, and I am inclined to take the industry position and to leave academia for good – because the company has been on my “wish list” for many years and I potentially might regret having declined the job offer in a few years.
However, I am not sure whether this is fair towards the professor, as she has invested a fair amount of time into the proposal. I have not told her anything about the fellowship outcome nor the job offer. Could I still decline the fellowship without bad feelings, or have I already committed myself into this postdoc?
How to politely decline a postdoc job offer after signing the offer letter?
Please note, I have not signed anything yet, so I am asking from a moral rather than a legal perspective.