Should I accept my current employer’s counteroffer?

Question: I am a fourth year finance associate who recently informed my firm that I am leaving to accept a new position.The Chair of my group told me that the firm was devastated to learn that I had accepted a new position; and wanted to know what they could do to keep me. I shared my concerns with him; and he assured me that, if I stayed, I could work with more partners; gain exposure to a wider variety of transactions; and decrease my hours. I like my firm, am very comfortable with my colleagues, and understand my partners’ expectations. Candidly, I am very tempted to accept the Chair’s counteroffer. Should I?

In a word . . . no! I understand that change is difficult.It is not easy to leave the known for the unknown.Combine the foregoing with the prospect of having to “prove” yourself; and even the most stalwart among us would be questioning his decision, especially when the Chair’s counteroffer seems like the panacea for all that ails you! In all likelihood, the Chair also included some flattery about how wonderful you are, and how they would really hate to lose such a talented young associate who has an incredibly bright future with the firm.

The notion that the counteroffer will solve all your problems (and that you are the most adored associate in the group) is a powerful aphrodisiac, but is it only a chimera?In a word . . . yes!You need to consider how your threatened departure is being viewed by your firm.What have you revealed by telling them that you were courting other suitors?What effect has your proposed defection had on your long term prospects with your current employer?Will the changes outlined in the counteroffer really come to fruition?