Why You Should Never Accept a Counter Offer When You Resign
Counter offers are risky. The reasons you resigned seldom goes away if you stay. In addition, when you met with your boss to turn in your resignation, you showed your boss that you have been disloyal by interviewing for another job.
However, your boss cannot afford to lose you at the time that you are resigning. Companies prefer to lose people based on the company’s timing. This concept is easy enough to understand. Your company is in the middle of work project that could fail if some people leave at the wrong time. You are one of those people.
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.
- Your boss shows understanding about your frustrations.
- Your boss promises to make adjustments to keep you on the job where you are currently working.
- 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 you decision.
As a recruiter, I have had applicants go through so much stress, they have cried. I had one manager who was going through a counter offer that was so stressful he called me at 2:00am. 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.
He stayed with the company he wanted to leave.
Seven month later, he was out again interviewing with another company. Nothing changed after he accepted the counter offer.
He hated where he worked. He needed to get another job.
Unfortunately, his boss saw him interviewing at the St. Louis airport and the poor guy did not know that his boss had seen him. The guy 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. His boss had seen him interviewing at the airport. At this point, his current employer no longer needed him. The same boss who had talked him into staying seven months before fired him.
So he lost the offer from the company that wanted to hire him. The company that gave him the counter offer had fired him.
He was unemployed.
BusinessWeek has a terrific article on counter offers. The title of the article is “An Offer Too Good to Accept.” The point of the article is that once a person resigns from a company, he or she is better off continuing out the door. The damage from the resignation only makes matters worse at a company where a person wanted to leave in the first place.
Many people feel pressure when they resign. You can reduce the pressure. When you resign, make the discussion short and to the point. Just be polite. Say that you are leaving. The reasons are strictly business, but they are the confidential information of your new employer, and you can’t discuss them. Then head out the door and keep walking.
Image credit: Andrew McGill/Flickr