Career Advice

One Time You Should NOT Accept a Counteroffer

Emotionally washed out man dreaming at work

Congratulations! You received a job offer from a new employer and submitted your resignation to human resources. While it is exciting to embark on a new and clear path in your career, things may get murky if your current employer makes a counteroffer. This may include a higher salary or better perks to convince you to stay. 

It may be easy to accept that counteroffer. You are already acclimated to your current role, you collaborate well with your colleagues and you’re generally comfortable. Change is scary anyway, right? Well, think twice before saying yes. There are several reasons why you should stick with your initial decision to move on.

Remember why you were job searching in the first place.

You clearly were unhappy with your current situation, or you would not have entertained the idea of meeting with potential employers. Think about why you considered moving on. Was your current benefits package not quite “beneficial?” Is the company culture too rigid, or does it lack the flexibility you prefer? Have you plateaued in your role and see no path for continued professional growth? Accepting a counteroffer will not eliminate these factors. In a few weeks, the same issues that drove you away the first time will inevitably resurface. 

Don’t be seduced by the bigger paycheck.

While salary may be a factor in your decision to leave, employers often think a higher salary will convince team members to stay. But think about the intentions behind that negotiation. Your employer was previously able but unwilling to pay what you were worth – so they clearly did not value you. Why now – when you’re leaving – did this money suddenly appear in their budget? Getting the salary you deserve shouldn’t require you having the upper hand in the conversation.

The trust is broken.

Even if your current employer convinces you to stay, there will always be a dark cloud hanging over your head. Management will perceive you as a flight risk. They may have convinced you to stay now, but how can they be sure this same conversation won’t happen again in six months? Remember, they worry about the company’s best interest, not yours. Your company may even start recruiting or grooming someone else to potentially replace you out of fear you can jump ship at any time. Even worse, they may begin to edge you out because they may feel they cannot depend on you.

When turning down a counteroffer directly to your soon-to-be former boss just stay strong in your resolve and say something along the lines of “I appreciate the opportunity you have given me and my time at this company, but I truly feel it is time to step away and move onto the next chapter.”  

It’s easy to be swayed to stay at your current job by a competitive counteroffer. Submitting your resignation will have both positive and negative consequences. But remember that you have several logical reasons for leaving. Stand your ground. A good employer will respect your choice, and you both can part ways amicably.

 Amanda Davis is the director of business operations at Vaco Memphis.

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