Job Counter Offers: The Stress of Leaving a Company

Job counter offers are ways companies avoid the annoyances of losing employees at the wrong time.

Should you stay or should you go?

Job counter offers are risky.

If you stay, the reasons you resigned seldom go away.  In addition, when you met with your boss to turn in your resignation, you showed your boss that you have been disloyal by interviewing with another company.

As for the value of a counter offer, be aware that companies prefer to lose people based on the company’s timing.  The reasons are easy to understand.  Your company is in the middle of a work project that could fail if people leave.   You are one of those people.  You find yourself in a counter offer that has more to do with completing the project than your value to the company.

So, what happens during a counter offer?

You go through a standard process to keep people aboard until the company can throw them overboard.

  • Your boss asks you the reasons that you are leaving.
  • Then your boss shows understanding about your frustrations.
  • Your boss promises to make changes to keep you on the job.
  • You may receive a pay raise or a promise of a pay raise.  Remember that you forced the pay raise by trying to resign.
  • Your boss may even may promises to improve things as time goes on.
  • Your boss gets the details of your job offer and shows you the flaws in going to the new company.
  • You feel pressure from the counter offer process.  You become indecisive.  Even if your company does not offer you a pay raise or change any of the conditions that have made you unhappy, the company pressures you to stay.
  • You begin to waver in your decision.

The Stress of Job Counter Offers

If you are feeling the stress of a job counter offer, you are not alone.

As a recruiter, I have had applicants go through so much stress that they have cried.  I had one manager who was going through a counter offer that was so stressful he called me at 2:00 AM.  He was in tears.  He was still in tears later that day when he called me to say that he had accepted his company’s counter offer.

The company convinced him to stay.

Seven month later, he was out again interviewing with another company.  Nothing changed after he accepted the counter offer.  He still hated where he worked.  He needed to get another job.

Unfortunately, another employee saw him interviewing at the airport.   The job searcher turned in a daily report that showed that he was making sales calls.  The report was false.  His boss knew that the report was false.   At this point, his current employer no longer needed him.  The same boss who had talked him into staying seven months before fired him.

He was unemployed without a job offer in hand.

How to Reduce the Pressure of Job Counter Offers

You can reduce the pressure.

When you resign, make the discussion short and to the point.  Just be polite.  Say that you are leaving.  Don’t share any information about your future employer or the amount of the offer.

When you think you are reasoning with your employer by sharing information about your new job, you are just engaging in a discussion that will increase the pressure.

Just give your resignation and listen but don’t speak.