Career Blog


Counter Offers: Accept at Career Peril

posted Jan 21, 2011, 5:16 PM by Christina Meiring

"You're leaving us for who? They are our competition! I’m hurt by this. Who will finish all your projects? Your team is already shorthanded. I thought you were happy here. Didn’t the VP tell you about your raise? Did you know you're eligible to get an extra week's vacation this year? Starting next month your position gets a company car. The new bonus program is starting next year, we can move yours up early. We have you in mind for a promotion! Let's Talk!"

You have just informed the boss that in two weeks you plan to "leave the nest". It was a painful and agonizing decision that took you weeks to make. You have been working here 11 years, your career is stalled; raises are slim but well it’s like family here.

You do have a great new company with an exciting new challenge, and new people waiting and depending on your arrival. You did give them your word by accepting the new position. Your family has been agonizing with you. In fact you may have been terrorizing them! The recruiter calls you hourly. It's really beginning to look like this whole "career move" has been an awful mistake. With your old company forking up a deal that’s as good financially as the new offer, maybe it would just be easier to just stay put for another year. Besides there are unfinished projects, the new guy to finish training, and the department bonus and everyones vacation schedule will be ruined. This is just not a good time to leave. Better listen to the counter offer........

STOP! Pinch yourself!

In twenty-six years of experience at JIT we can honestly say that we know of only a handful of counteroffers that led to successful careers with their old firm. It is not wise to accept them.

Reread the following paragraphs over and over, until you break free of the bonds that restrain your career.

Good companies don’t make counter offers, period. If your hoping for a counter offer it is really just a form of extortion. When you give notice you are not on the team anymore. Well managed firms thank you for your services, ask you to properly prepare an easy transition to your replacement and everyone parts professionals. Simple as that. Any other action by your employer is desperation designed to stall your departure. Give two weeks notice and be gone. (Not one week, not three weeks, always give two weeks. No ifs, ands or buts.)

Ask yourself: Will I be forced to get another offer in several years to get a raise or promotion? If your employers are giving you a counter offer, trust that you are not the first to get one. Look around, are others in a career rut, moving up only at the whim of an outside offer? It’s a tough way to be recognized for a job well done. The new company recognized your talents and worth. Your old bosses seem to be blind, at least till your outside offer made them put on their spectacles!

This is a full employment market. That’s one of the reasons you have a better offer. This is the best time in the last fifty years to leverage your career worth. Your company knows it is cheaper to "save" you than bear the costs of advertising and recruiters fees. The training costs of the new hire alone will make the few thousand it took to keep you seem cheap! If they can stall you into staying, they will have time to find and train your replacement! They have the benefit of knowing you well and "working" on you every day to stay.

You are forever after a fidelity risk. Forget what your bosses say. Like the wayward spouse once caught, they will keep a very close eye on you. That big new project in the emerging technology group will not include you. Twenty years from now your act of disloyalty WILL BE REMEMBERED.

You made your decision for real and important reasons. You should actually write them down. You will lose sight of what they were. They may have included poor working environment, personality problems, location, lack of career advancement, poor management, troubled company finances, too many bosses above you, lack of training, whatever were your reasons. Please, stop and think. What can possibly change. Will your boss really change his stripes? Will the company get a windfall contract. Can they fire the six executives above you to clear a career path for you? Of course not. Nothing will really change. The problems will all still be there, you will just have a little more money to mask the symptoms. In six months it will be "would’a, should’a, could’a, wish I’da done it."

The attractiveness of staying is overpowering human nature. Your boss knows this. If they are giving you a counteroffer it means they are good at it. It may even be an ill conceived corporate policy or gambit. They know how to 'lure" you back into the "family". Fear of the unknown is always more disconcerting than the security of the known. If they come to you pleading vacation schedules, unfinished projects, no one to replace you blues, keep packing. When they come bearing gifts of raises, promotions, promises of personal empowerment, grab your talisman; start shaking hands and offering short good-byes. They will live without you, and you can certainly live without them.

JACTA EST ALEA

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