Don’t Accept a Counter Offer

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Dissatisfaction with your current job led you to consider other opportunities. You’ve found an exciting new job you want to do, and you gave notice.

Now… a counteroffer from your current employer has you confused.

What to do? My advice in most situations is to gracefully decline.

Here’s why:

It seems like unfair negotiation. Understand that your employer might have viewed your resignation as a negotiating tactic. Now, as a negotiation technique, if that was your goal, you walked in with all of the power. If your boss gave in when her back was up against the wall, she may hold onto resentment around your unfair negotiation approach. No, I know, that wasn’t your intent! But, if you accept the counter offer, that’s what it will look like. Your boss will not likely shake that feeling.

It’s a short-term Band-Aid. Think past your current situation and into the medium and long term. What does accepting this counter offer mean for you at your workplace? Most likely, your new compensation and role from the counter offer is borrowing from future raises and promotions. Come time for your next salary review, you might be less likely to get the raise you deserve at that point. Sure, your boss is offering to fix everything you are dissatisfied with right now… But, what happens when new things come up that you’re not happy with? You’re using all your bargaining chips today.

Trust is broken. Bringing in an offer tells your boss that you’re not loyal, or at least, not satisfied. We may not be 100% happy at our jobs all the time, but now that you’ve made clear your desire to leave, will your current employer want to continue to invest in your career?

Remind yourself what led you to look in the first place. Change is hard. You’re sitting there with your boss, and she’s looking at you right in the eyes and saying, “I need you! I’ll do anything.” That’s terribly compelling when you’ve given so much to get to this point, and it feels good to be needed. But, remember you got to the point of dissatisfaction where you decided you couldn’t work it out at your current job and needed to look elsewhere. You have to do what’s best for you.

Trust your gut. Whether you tried to renegotiate your current position before interviewing, or deemed your current role to be doomed, your gut told you to look outside your current role. Your employer had their chance to create a job you’d love. They failed. It’s time to give someone else a shot!

Now, you can walk into your new job with the confidence that you were more valued than you ever knew.

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