Should You Take the Counteroffer?

For those lucky enough to have been offered a new job in your chosen field, doing the right thing by your old job is almost always going to include providing notice to that employer.  While this is the courteous thing to do and is a way to prevent burning bridges, it also provides the company losing you the opportunity to come up with a counteroffer to tempt you to stay.  While it may validate your own self-worth to have an employer respond to the prospect of losing you with an offer to improve on an experience with which you are already acclimatized, unless the only deciding factor of the job change is a salary increase that they are prepared to promise you, keep in mind that there are usually reasons we take steps to change employment.   


Don’t Stay Because It’s Easier - For them or For You


The benefits to accepting the counteroffer are obvious.  The company doesn’t want to have to find, hire, and train someone new for the job you are leaving, so they get together and evaluate what they can give you to sweeten the pot.  Have you asked for shortened hours, or remote work relocation, or even a company permanent parking spot?  Those things are easy enough to promise to adjust as an enticement to stay.  And those things may be the reason you are leaving, right?  Also, as much as they don’t want to spend time and money on an unknown, you don’t really want to start over in a new place and must be trained all over again when you are probably comfortable where you are.


Promises:  Easy to Make, Easy to Break


However, its easy enough to promise any number of things, but if you think about the culture of the company you are leaving, do you really think they can maintain those changes long-term?  For instance, many companies claim to put family first, but visibly or verbally show disapproval if an employee must leave for a family emergency such as a sick child.  Do you really think the manager that gave you the stink eye for leaving to pick up your kid early from school will permanently alter her behavior even though he/she doesn’t even feel comfortable taking time off for their own emergencies because the culture of the business won’t allow it?


After a counteroffer is accepted, there is often a honeymoon period where the employee feels like they have gotten everything they want, and then six months down the road they realize they are working 10-hour days again and coming to work even though visibly unwell.

Really think about why you are looking for a new job.  If the ONLY factor prompting you to search is more money in your paycheck at a job you otherwise love and would truly hate to leave, accept the counteroffer should if it gives you that and you get to stay where you love.  Rarely is it any one thing that leads to a person undergoing to arduous task of finding a new position.  Whether it’s the culture, the location, the hours, or the industry-you reached a point where you put together a resume, dug out the old interview suit, and choked down your nerves enough to meet with a new company that wants to hire you.…and if they start you off with all those were lacking at the last job, you may never have to go through all that ever again!