Let’s face it: When someone quits, it’s often a poor a reflection on the boss. Unless you’re really incompetent or a destructive thorn in his side, the boss might look bad by “allowing” you to go. His immediate gut reaction is to do whatever it takes to keep you from leaving until he’s ready for you to go on his terms – that’s human nature. Unfortunately for your boss, it’s also human nature to want to stay where you’re comfortable unless your work life is utter misery. Career changes, like all ventures into the unknown, are tough. That’s why bosses know they can usually entice you to stay by pressing the right buttons.
Before you succumb to a tempting counteroffer, consider these universal employment truths:
- Any situation in which an employee is forced to get an outside offer before the present employer will suggest a raise, promotion or better working conditions, is cause for suspicion.
- No matter what your company says when making its counteroffer, from now on you’ll be considered a fidelity risk. Having now demonstrated your lack of loyalty (for whatever reason) to the company, you’ll lose your status as a “team player” and your place in the inner circle.
- Counteroffers are usually nothing more than a stalling device to give your employer time to replace you.
- Your reasons for wanting to leave still exist. Conditions are just made a bit more tolerable in the short term because of the raise, promotion or promises made to keep you. You also have no way of knowing to what extent these promises will be kept.
- The potential opportunities your new position can provide will most likely outweigh what your current company has been willing to provide (or you wouldn’t have sought something new!).
The bottom line: Counteroffers are only made in response to a threat to quit. Will you have to solicit an offer and threaten to quit every time you deserve better working conditions?
Companies in sync with their employees don’t need to make counteroffers… EVER! Their policies are fair and equitable, and they are in touch with your level of job satisfaction. They won’t be subjected to “counteroffer coercion” or what they perceive as blackmail, and they won’t need to be.
If the urge to accept a counteroffer hits you, continue to clean out your desk as you count your blessings… you’re on to something better.
Key ideas from this article have been taken from “Counteroffer Acceptance: Road to Career Ruin” by Paul Hawkinson, NATIONAL BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT WEEKLY (Published by the Wall Street Journal: Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)