Freddie was offered a post-doctoral position they did not apply for, by Sasha. Sasha and Freddie know each other because they used to share an office. The topic is quite different from what Freddie has known in the past. Freddie is surprised and hesitates to accept. Had the position been externally advertised, Freddie would not have applied for lack of self-assessed qualifications, but Sasha convinces Freddie to learn on the job. Notwithstanding the impostor syndrome, Freddie accepts, being between jobs and enjoying the opportunity to broaden skills if successful.
The risks for Sasha are quite clear: perhaps too optimistic about Freddies skills, and if unsuccessful, that will be bad for the project. But what are the risks for Freddie in this scenario? In the scenario in which Freddie is unsuccessful, how damaging would that be to academic career chances? Is the value of an unsuccessful postdoc positive, neutral, negative?
In a previous version of this question, Freddie was called Sue, and Sasha was called Sam.