Most of us know the hard and fast rule: never accept a counter offer. We may also be aware of the statistic warning us that 80 percent of those who accept a counter offer will leave the company within six months. But do we understand why? We explore the simple truths waiting to be discovered beneath the thin veneer of flattery that is the counter offer.
The journey to leave
If your current employer is going to make a counter offer, it will be at the point at which you have been through the process of finding and committing to another job. It’s safe to say at this stage of your career that you understand the challenging questions that you must ask yourself in making a decision that works for you and your career. The process of deciding to leave an organisation is never straightforward, even when your circumstances seem black and white. Your journey to leave was peppered with pros and cons, and culminated in a clear understanding as to why a new job is the answer for you. You have explored every avenue to double and triple check that there is no way forward in your current role. You’ve done your homework and made your choice.
Receiving a counter offer can feel confusing. It may even feel flattering to receive an offer, often generous, and glowing praise to entice you to stay. Don’t be fooled. Be flattered, allow yourself that, but don’t be fooled. See the situation for what it is, not what you wish it could be. There is a crucial difference between these two trains of thought. One is grounded and pragmatic. The latter is a final attempt at fixing what you have already decided cannot be fixed.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda
The harsh truth is, any employer whose first response to your resignation is to throw money at the situation, is not looking after your best interests. It’s too little, too late. You may want to believe that they have your best interests at heart, in addition to the best interests of the company, but this is highly unlikely. Here’s why. Just as annual appraisal conversations shouldn’t hold any surprises for either party if you’re working properly together, a reactive counter offer highlights everything that isn’t working about your relationship with this company.
Play your cards
After careful consideration, you chose to leave. Why would an offer of money change your mind? The truth is, if you were unhappy with your remuneration package, or the hours you were working, or the length of your commute, or the unchallenging monotony of your workload, you would have negotiated a better situation for yourself. You chose not to. You committed yourself elsewhere, and that process was hard work. You evaluated your situation carefully. You have found a better environment more suited to your needs. Do not be dazzled by offers of money at the eleventh hour. The underlying truth to a counter offer is that your current organisation is faced with having to replace you. And they don’t want to do that.
Leaving a company is a commitment to yourself and your career. Don’t give up: stay true to the decisions you have made and go for it.
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