Deciding to leave your current job and accepting a new position is often an awkward and difficult time, especially for young professionals who may not have been in that situation before.
Even if you aren’t profoundly happy in your current role, you probably have attachments to fellow employees and possibly even your supervisor.
For many of us, change is difficult, even if we really want the change.
After spending time agonizing over exactly how and what to say when turning in your notice, you may expect a certain amount of relief when the meeting is finally over. What many people are not ready for, though, is the counter offer; the appeal from your boss to get you to change your mind and stay on.
Often it comes in the form of a sizeable raise accompanied with an appeal to your sense of loyalty; after all, the company really needs you and won’t be able to replace you. They might even throw in a promotion. Tempting, right?
Don’t weaken, at least not immediately, even if your current manager makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
Consider this before you say yes, or no, to a counter offer…
Why Did You Start Looking in the First Place?
If you started looking for a new job solely for financial gain, then this question is easy to answer. But, if you found a new job because you were looking for more of a challenge or purpose, or because you were bored and in a dead end job, how will the counter offer change that? Will you end up back at your desk regretting not getting out? Or, do you enjoy your job already and the financial benefit of the counter offer fixes your issues?
What is Your Supervisor’s Real Reason for Countering?
Is it because they really feel you are integral to the company, or could it be that you are in the midst of a project and replacing you at that very moment will be difficult? Is it because it costs a lot of money to locate, hire, and train a replacement? You may not be able to answer these questions right away, but take your time. What you discover may help you negotiate a better offer.
Why Weren’t You Given a Raise or Promotion Sooner?
If your manager tells you they were planning to promote you but just hadn’t done it yet, where is the evidence to support that? Did you receive positive reviews? Did you consistently get raises? If not, be skeptical of their stated plans. And if you just aren’t sure, ask the question: “Why didn’t we talk about this before? Why now?”
What Will Life Be Like if You Stay?
Even if your boss really, really wants you to stay, how will it feel to walk into work the next day? You’ve let the company know that not only did you think about leaving, you went through all of the hard work to find openings, go on job interviews, and land a new job.
They have no doubt you were serious, and it may mean you move from the inner to the outer circle if you stay after a counter offer. Watch for signs of bitterness or disappointment, and factor those indicators into your decision
You Will Break Your Word to the ‘New’ Employer
Accepting a counter offer and deciding to stay put means you now must go back to the company you accepted a new position with and tell them you’ve changed your mind. This isn’t easy; you and the employer spent a lot of time getting to the point where you were offered a job, and you’re now pulling the plug. What will that do to your reputation within your industry? Are you sure you’re ready to close the door on that opportunity? Whatever you decide, just know: the anger and disappointment shown by the new employer takes some time to dissipate.
If you Google “counter offer” you’ll find pages of posts saying you absolutely should not take a counter offer under any circumstances. Bullocks to that. Everyone’s situation is different, and every counter offer has its own unique set of circumstances.
Ultimately, accepting a counter offer, or not, is a very personal decision.
You need to consider many factors, and at the end of the day make the decision that’s right for you and yours.
About the Author: Amy McCloskey Tobin is a content strategist and creator. She specializes in generational insights, the future of work, the remote workforce, workplace diversity, and how tech has changed the business world. Amy has worked with major online publications to develop content and content strategy. A devotee of social media, Amy believes firmly that great content begets social media community. Find Amy on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter!