I discussed my ideas with a professor at a university here in China, where I live. He said that I should write a grant proposal and he will submit it, and if he gets a grant he will hire me (as a postdoc). So I did write a proposal and finally he got a grant, which will start in September-October. The funds seem to come from this Chinese university.

I do have some written communications in which he stated (or suggested) that he would "hire" me if the grant got funded. But now he does not want to hire me!

What are my options?

I declined a position because he promised to hire me. Now I have 3 months left in my current position and then I will be unemployed.

He will get the money from this grant with me or without. I just wrote a proposal statement. I am listed in a budget section as a Postdoc fellow and the proposed salary is also listed. My salary is the main part of the budget. It seems to be a good idea for a Prof to kick me from this budget and get a big piece of a pie. (Fortunately, this Prof is not able to get any results from my proposal because he has no idea what I am doing.)

Yesterday, when he said this news, I said that I do not want any explanations. A few hours later I sent him an e-mail where I asked to give me explanations. I have got no answer yet.

  • A related question: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/15229/…
    – user38309
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 18:08
  • 4
    it may well be a university rule that it has to go to open competition.
    – Mark Joshi
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 0:23
  • 1
    @A.V. Please use this procedure to merge your accounts so that you will be able to edit your post and write comments on it and on the answers.
    – ff524
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 5:04
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    Would you explain what you mean by he does not want to hire me!? Did he explicitly say that? Yesterday, when he said this news, would you please clarify what the news is about? About he got the grant? Or about he is not going to hire you?
    – Nobody
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 5:19
  • 1
    He sad that he will not hire me and I should looking for another job.
    – A. V.
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 6:31

1 Answer 1


There are at least three possible explanations as why the professor told you he was not going to hire you for the up-coming project,

  1. He wants to do it by himself.
  2. He wants to hire somebody else who has similar qualifications and research capabilities to do it with less salary.
  3. He wants to hire you with the salary less than listed on the proposal budget section to do it.

The first possibility is unlikely because he has no idea what you are doing.

The second one and the third one are equally likely. Both are for the reason that he wants a bigger share of the pie. I cannot tell which one is more likely because you did not get his explanation.

If he did not have a candidate to replace you yet, I guess the reason he said he was not going to hire you was an attempt to negotiate the salary. In other words, he wants you to take a pay cut.

I would suggest you to approach him by a face-to-face meeting if you really want to work with him on this project. During the meeting, politely ask him to explain to you why he was not going to hire you for the project. If he ever expresses the desire to cut your salary, then it's up to you whether to accept the offer.

There could be a fourth possibility that he did not want to hire you because the relationship between you is bad. I exclude this one for now because there is no strong indication in your question that this is the case (otherwise he would not ask you to write the proposal in the first place). If indeed the relationship is bad, you'll need to figure out how to repair it if you want to work with him.

  • In China, does anyone care if you deviate much from your budget? At least in the US, the NSF does not seem to like this sort of thing and as I recall you're supposed to get permission for significant reallocations of funds.
    – Kimball
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 12:55
  • @Kimball I think reallocation within the fund is possible as long as you have good reasons such as "we didn't anticipate project management would take so much time". Of course, this depends on the agency and the fund manager.
    – Nobody
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 13:16
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    Yes, it seems that he wants to cut my salary. He always complains that he need more money, almost every second he talks about money.
    – A. V.
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 6:11

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