An offer too good to refuse…except I had to

Way back when, seven years ago lol!, I started my teaching career. My first year I was so scared and intimidated by everything and everyone, especially the veteran teachers. Here I was, 22 years old, fresh out of college, wanting to teach high school juniors American literature–what the heck did I know about what I was doing??

The school that hired me had an absolutely amazing English department so I knew I was in good hands. (It still does despite many teachers retiring or moving on)

One of those teachers was a man named John–he worked there my first two years and his wife, also an English teacher, was actually my student/teacher mentor. John has a no nonsense aura about him; he doesn’t mince words and is super, super smart. Like you’re afraid to say something stupid in front him smart. I remember the first time I met him, I called him Mr. Prather, like if I was a student! He quickly said it was okay for me to call him by his first name, after all, we were co-workers. (eek!)

John was known for being a top teacher. All the students liked him and not because his classes were easy–in fact, his classes challenged the students and they loved it. At the time, he taught the same subject I did and yes, I felt like I was way out of my league compared to him.

In addition to being known as a fabulous teacher, John is an accomplished runner. He currently coaches our high school’s cross country team. He has the same success with his athletes that he does with his students in that they love his coaching style, respect him, and take on the challenges he gives them.

So when I got an e-mail from him last month offering me an assistant coaching position, I FREAKED OUT. I mean, I screamed out loud after reading.

This is a man whose intelligence I’d admired and respected, who I’ve always (even now) been kind of afraid to even talk to, asking ME to work beside him!

I didn’t know what to say.

A million things went through my head–yet, the main question was, could I do it?

I already knew the answer to that.



The high school I work at is a 40 minute drive from where I live. I have to leave at 6:30 in the morning to make it there on time and I drive against traffic both ways. With practices, I wouldn’t be getting home til past my kids’ bedtimes. Traveling would further keep me away from home. I couldn’t do it to my kids or my husband.

And oh yeah, I’m currently training for a marathon.

It just wouldn’t work. So, I e-mailed back a sad no.

I let him know that I was extremely honored to even be considered and that it would have been a dream to work with him. I know that I could have learned so much–with my own running and especially working with student athletes, something I’ve always wanted to do.

It was such a great opportunity, one that I hope I’ll get another chance at in the future when the time is right. I just know that that time is not now.

I made sure the e-mail went into the Saved folder so that I could go back and look at it every once and a while–I know that it’ll always be a good pick-me-upper when I need one 🙂

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 1.17.08 PM

Have you ever had to say no to something you really wanted to say yes to?

Do you always have a lot of things going on because you don’t want to say no? (For some reason, this is me. But I’m learning.)

38 responses

  1. This post is totally speaking to me today!! I was asked to be a paid running coach for a half marathon program by a regional charity but had to sadly say no. It would have been great experience but this pesky marathon is a bit of a time suck right now. I told them to keep me in mind for the spring!

  2. Yes! Yes! Yes! You can and should say no. I need to learn how to do this too. I work full time. I have two young kids and a 30 minute commute to work each day! I’m glad that there are others struggling with “no” out there. We will keep each other strong!

  3. Such a shame it wouldn’t work out for you – sounded like a great chance. But you were right and too often it is hard to be honest with ourselves so we say yes but are unable to meet the challenge. Before we moved to Corning 6 years ago I had 4 job offers split between Boston, Seattle, Charlotte and Corning … and you can only choose one. 🙂

  4. OMG congrats and sorry at the same time. I would have made the same choice, too many challenges to work out and family would of been impacted. Huge honor he considered you and you should be nothing but happy about that.

  5. Congrats and bummer all at once! But seriously, how awesome that you were offered the job. It says a lot about you and his respect for you. No doubt, this won’t be the last offer 🙂

  6. I think this sounds like the perfect definition of bittersweet! At least you can feel good about yourself knowing that he thought you would be a good fit for the position. I’m a true believer in “everything happens for a reason”. Who knows what this may lead to! 🙂

  7. I know how much of a tough choice that must have been! There are a few things I have had to turn down because of my commute too, it never gets easier to say no, especially when we are at conflict with things we really want to do and trying to balance that with our family/home lives! There will be other opportunities in the future though and its a huge compliment that he thought of you!!

  8. What an amazing compliment! I’m sad that you don’t get to follow through with the opportunity, but just to have been asked must feel amazing, and shows that John obviously respects and admires you too!

  9. I second Rae–that truly is an amazing compliment, and you should be so proud of yourself to be offered it. There are a few things that I have had to pass on, but I think that you can look at it the other way as well–you would be passing on your family to do the other, and that is a committment that is a) for life and b) that you have already made. The worst part of passing on something is wondering afterwards what might have happened if… But hopefully, in the future, if you still are interested, that door might be ever so slightly open…

  10. Oh man! How cool that they asked! And a bummer you had to say no, but that totally makes sense with your commute and schedule!

    I say no to a lot now, just cause I don’t want to be stretched too thin. So I think I have the opposite problem 😉

  11. I tend to say “yes” to things I’m not passionate about, especially in the school environment. I’ve learned in recent years that if I take on things I WANT to do – coaching volleyball, offering a newsletter club, etc – then I won’t be called upon to do the things I don’t really want to do, and when I AM called upon, I feel better saying no because I’m helping in other ways.

  12. Such a bummer that it didn’t work out, but I’m sure you will have plenty of future opportunities to coach when the timing is right :). And such an honor that he wanted you rather than just putting it out there on a website for just anyone. That has to make you feel really good and really speaks to your character! 🙂

  13. It’s not on he same scale as your amazing offer (you would’ve been AWESOME!), but I had to say no to running the Ragnar Relay this fall because it is too close to my goal marathon. I really want to do a Ragnar and I really like the wife of the guy putting together the team (she was briefly my Chi running coach and would be driving the van). It’s still making me sad that I can’t, but it’s e right decision.

    You should be proud he asked you 🙂

    • oooh I really want to do Ragnar too! and like you, it’s two weeks before a big marathon. You definitely made the right decision as I know you’ve had your eye on a goal marathon for quite some time

  14. What an AMAZING opportunity! I’m sorry you had to turn it down 😦
    I went from being a “no” person to a YES person during the past year- & sometimes I wonder what the heck I’m doing to myself being constantly busy. But on the other hand, being young(ish) and single is the time to take advantage, right? I know I’d say no to many more things if I had a family to worry about.
    Hopefully another coaching opportunity comes up for you when the timing is right 🙂

    • I used to love being busy! I felt like that’s when I was at my best. But since having kids, I’ve totally grown to relish any down time that might magically appear lol! I say to continue being busy just like you’re doing while you’re young and single 🙂

  15. Wow that’s an amazing offer! But if I were in your shoes, I would have done the same thing. Hopefully that opportunity will come along later when it’s a better time for you. Congrats on getting the offer though! Oh and FYI, I always save emails like that to read when I’m in a bad mood. It’s the best pick-me-up!

  16. I am guilty of saying yes to everything! You are smart for knowing your limits, but still it was such a nice offer. Hopefully it gives you something to look forward to in the future! Think of how much other people could benefit from learning to run from a marathon runner!