Our experience with employees and counteroffers has shown that acceptance is often career suicide. Consider the problem in its proper perspective. What really goes through a boss's mind when someone quits? Consider these thoughts:
- "This couldn't happen at a worse time."
- "This is one of my best associates. If I let him/her quit now, it'll wreak havoc on the morale of the section."
- "I'm already short-handed in this section. I don't need another loss right now."
- "I'm working as hard as I can, and I don't need to do his/her work, too."
- "If I lose another good associate, my partners might decide to 'lose' me too."
- "Maybe I can keep him/her on until I find a suitable replacement."
- "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 because you have a real future here."
- "You know, I've been meaning to tell you about the great plans we have for you. But they have been confidential until now."
- "The section head has you in mind for some exciting and expanding responsibilities."
- "You were behind your peers at your last review, but this year, we think your prospects of early partnership are really strong."
- You're going to work for whom?"
Before you put down your gun to hug the bear, consider these universal truths:
- Any situation in which an employee is forced to get an outside offer before the present employer will provide salary and working conditions at market level or better is suspect.
- No matter what the firm says when making its counteroffer, you'll always be considered a fidelity risk. Having once demonstrated your lack of loyalty (for whatever reason), you'll lose your status as a team player and your shot at a place in the inner circle.
- Counteroffers are usually nothing more than stall devices 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.
- 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?
If you find you have hugged the bear and accepted a counteroffer, enjoy the thrill, but know that you should continue to clean out your desk. You have started down a road to perdition.
See the following articles for more information:
- Playing With Fire: Using a New Offer From a Competing Firm as Leverage to Get What you Want at Your Current Firm
- Should I Accept My Firm’s Counteroffer?
- Should I Accept My Current Employer’s Counteroffer?
- Should You Accept an on the Spot Offer?