Counter-offers – is it ever a good idea to accept?
If you have 5 minutes to read this article to get the ‘why’s?’, great. If not, here’s the short answer – NO!
So, you’ve been unhappy with your current job or employer for a while and have gone to the effort of preparing a CV, searching for suitable roles, applying for said roles, attending interview(s) and are now in the happy position of being offered the job.
It’s the morning of your resignation and you are feeling mixed emotions – excited, confident, exhilarated mixed with a fair amount of anxiety, trepidation and nerves! Regardless of how your news is accepted there is generally a post-resignation lull where everyone takes stock of the situation. After a few hours – or possibly even days – you might then receive the call to request your attendance at a follow-up meeting. Be prepared. If it’s to discuss how to deal with your hand-over then great, if it’s to discuss how to tempt you to re-think your decision then beware.
There is a very famous blog that has been doing the rounds for years by Paul Hawkinson* – he sums it up very well:
What’s going through your boss’s mind when you quit?
"This couldn't be happening at a worse time."
"This is one of my best people. If I let him quit now, it'll wreak havoc on the morale of the department."
"I've already got one opening in my department, I don't need another right now."
"This will probably screw up the entire vacation schedule."
"I'm working as hard as I can, and I don't need to do his work, too."
"My review is coming up and this will make me look bad."
"Maybe I can keep him on until I find a suitable replacement."
What will the boss say to keep you in the nest? Some of these comments are common.
"I'm really shocked. I thought you were as happy with us as we are with you. Let's discuss it before you make your final decision."
"Aw, gee, I've been meaning to tell you about the great plans we have for you, but it's been confidential until now."
"The V.P. has you in mind for some exciting and expanding responsibilities." "Your raise was schedule to go into effect next quarter, but we'll make it effective immediately."
"You're going to work for who?"
The bottom line is that with all of the above scenarios, what’s right for you is secondary to what’s right for your boss or the company you‘ve been intending to leave. You may well be an asset to the business, but why has it taken until you resign for them to recognise that in terms of offering you better job satisfaction or remuneration? It’s also worth remembering that they now know that your loyalty is in question, and this could just be a delaying tactic until they find your replacement – the next time on their terms!
So, if you’ve made the decision to hand over that resignation letter then do it with conviction. The reasons for you wanting to leave in the first place are still there.
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* Mr. Hawkinson is publisher of The Fordyce Letter, a monthly newsletter for executive search and recruiting professionals. He is a former executive recruiter and consultant.