I declined two dream job offers. It was heartbreaking for me

Aaron James
2 min readSep 2, 2021
Photo by Cameron Venti

I’ve been interviewing at three companies over the past six weeks. I chose to only apply to companies and teams that inspired me and that I admired. If I put in the hard work, I knew I could land one of these dream positions. I was only banking on one offer to come through.

I met many amazing people during my interviews — some I pictured myself learning and growing from. We had enriching discussions about what life would be like to join their teams and how excited they were for me possibly joining. It felt like dating at times, where the recruiter was playing match-maker and I the prospective bachelor.

Here’s the thing, I was expecting to be rejected by everyone. That’s why I chose to interview at three companies at once. I even had a second list of companies to apply to once those companies rejected me. So I was prepared for the worst if the romance didn’t work out.

All three companies sent me an offer letter within 48 hours of each other. I was stunned. I had to say “no” to not one but two dream jobs. It felt like heartbreak to me.

These are the four aspects I considered when choosing between the offers:
• Compensation
• People
• Company
• Product

All companies were amazing. They all had competitive compensation packages. They all had amazing people I respected and could learn and grow from. These companies would all look great on my resume. But, for me, my decision came down to one thing: the product. In the end, my passion for the product drove my decision.

While working at Hulu, I would reference Netflix as the standard for product quality and craftsmanship. Netflix stole my heart long ago, and that envy stuck with me over the years. I dreamed of a day when I could contribute to a product as great.

I sent the other two companies a breakup email and was delicate in the way I let them down. First, I shared what I loved about their companies, people, and product. Then, I felt brave enough to write a couple of bullet points of feedback and kindly declined their offers. Then a moment of sorrow poured over me. I just declined two dream jobs.

The moment of sadness quickly faded away and turned to excitement. I said “yes” to Netflix. I landed a job — my dream job. I’m over the moon.

Follow me on Medium or LinkedIn