Sue was offered a post-doctoral position they did not apply for, by Sam. Sam and Sue know each other because they used to share an office. The topic is quite different from what Sue has known in the past. Sue is surprised and hesitates to accept. Had the position been externally advertised, Sue would not have applied considering herself unqualified, but Sam convinced her that she can learn on the job. Notwithstanding the impostor syndrome, Sue accepts, because she is about to be between jobs and the opportunity to broaden the skills are very valuable if she succeeds to do so.
The risks for Sam are quite clear: he may be too optimistic about Sues skills, and if she is unsuccessful, that will be bad for the project. But what are the risks for Sue in this scenario? In the scenario in which Sue is unsuccessful, how damaging would that be to Sues academic career chances? Is the value of an unsuccessful postdoc positive, neutral, negative?