Beware the Counter Offer

After much reflection, you have decided that your current job is not right for you, and it is time to move on. With your updated resume in hand, you pursue some exciting new opportunities. Before you know it, you say “YES” to a new job that is both challenging and financially sound.

Whew! Time to take a deep breath, muster up courage and let your boss know you are resigning. To your relief, he takes the news well. To your surprise, however, he presents you with a very tempting counter offer.

Undoubtedly, he is trying to entice you to stay; he believes throwing more money your way will sway you. RED FLAG! Why is he offering you a raise now that you have decided to leave? Has he finally realized your worth, or does he just not want to lose you to the competition?

Ask yourself: Are you suddenly feeling valuable, and irreplaceable to your current employer? Why didn’t your boss give you a raise before realizing he was going to lose you?

Stop and think carefully before accepting the counter offer. Remember, it is from a company that you were happy to leave.

A Few Things to Think About 

When an employee is happy, a salary increase offered by another company is seldom the prime reason for moving on. Are a few extra dollars enough to put aside the issues that caused you to resign in the first place? If the money is your primary concern and you are happy with all other aspects of your job, then perhaps a few extra dollars is enough.

Still, suppose your problems are systemic: culture, the type of work and incompatibility. Things unlikely to change overnight. It should not take you resigning for things to change. A sudden counter offer as a response to you quitting could indicate poor management. If it is based on desperation rather than merit, nothing will change for you in the long run.

Beware of feeling a sense of personal obligation, either to the company or to a co-worker. The decision to leave a job should be about you and the long-term success of your career.

Likewise, if the counter offer includes promotion or more responsibility, think about how your colleagues will view you. You may not get the support you need from them to make your new position work if they believe it took you threatening to leave to get promoted. They could feel a sense of betrayal and question how invested you are in the team if you were prepared to go in the first place. They will question whether they can still trust and rely on you.

Never Accept a Counter Offer

The best advice we can give you is to NEVER accept a counter offer. No reasoning in the world will make your current job better by accepting a counter offer. Not only will you become a pariah, but resentment, distrust and ultimately, unhappiness will abound. To ease your mind, make a list of the things you are looking for in a new job; this will reassure you are on the right track:

  • Promotion Opportunity
  • Better Management
  • A Company Culture You Align with
  • Type of Work you Will be Doing
  • Mentoring and Training Offered
  • How the Job will Help Your Career

Remember, there was a good reason you looked for and accepted a new job. Keep in mind that the new company is making you a better offer because they think highly of your skills, attitude, and potential to add significant value to the team.

It may just be the right time to stick to your original plan and move on to new opportunities.

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