You’ve just gone through a lengthy interviewing process and the company has made you an acceptable offer. You took a day or two to weigh the pros and cons, and after careful deliberation, you’ve decided to accept the offer. But is the process truly over? Not so fast! Now you need to meet with your current boss to break the news that you’re leaving.
The Counter Offer Setup
You walk into their office and say, “Mr. Boss, I really hate to tell you this, but I’m leaving. I found a new job.” Then you hear, “But Bill, why? We had such great plans for you, you are a”key” person here, what was the offer, maybe we can match it….blah….blah….blah”; you know the script. Then you are tempted by your little voice. “Maybe I should stay, maybe I am valuable, etc, etc, etc.” In my years with an executive search firm in Pittsburgh, I’ve seen this happen too many times. Before you fall victim to the temptation of the counter offer it would be wise to consider the following.
1. Don’t Panic!
Employers often make offers in a moment of panic. You giving notice will cause a problem somewhere within the company, or at the very least, it may affect vacations or schedules. The last thing a boss needs is even more disgruntled employees, so his initial reaction is to panic and throw money at you to save himself more problems.
2. So Long Future
What people don’t realize is that once an employer knows that you were going to leave, you become “suspect”. You may never be viewed the same. The next time there are cutbacks or promotions given out, your head will be on the block so fast, you’d think you were a French noble. You become damaged goods,and therefore easily expendable.
3) Spare Change?
Do you really think things will change? Chances are NO. Leopards don’t change their spots. The reasons why you wanted to leave may be temporarily relieved, but trust me they will be back. They always come back.
4) Money From Nothing
If they matched the offer, or surpassed it, where did that money come from? Could it be your next increase, or worse, your next two raises? Or better yet, where was this money on your last raise? You need to think that through. Why were they holding out on you?
5) Pound of Cure
In this market where talent is at a premium, employers find it easier to throw money at a problem than to actually fix that problem. In this case, they feel more money will offset your irritation with the problem. It may even work for awhile. But the problem, as I said before, never really goes away.
6) My Friend Today…
My area of Pittsburgh/Western PA. is a close community. You never know where people will wind up. Likely yours is too. Statistically, most people stay in the same area their entire lives. The employer who made you the original offer, and you are now leaving high and dry, may still one day be your boss. Do you really want him/her to think of you as a person who doesn’t live up to their commitments or their word?
7) Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home
What are you going to do the next time you have a problem? Threaten to take your ball and go home again? Is that the kind of company you want to work for? One that only responds to you threatening them? Doesn’t sound like a winning situation.
Now I know in your own mind, you may want to justify why you decided to go back on your word. People can justify anything, but you better think it through first. The word you give, and/or the commitments you make, make you the person you are. A counter offer is one you CAN refuse!