Think Carefully Before Accepting a Counter Offer

If you decide to stay with your current employer your loyalty may be questioned.

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Lindsay Olson
It may seem to be the best of both worlds, two companies vying to get you on their team, but the truth is, this puts you in a difficult position. When you decide to change jobs and your current employer makes a counter offer, you need to think carefully before accepting it.

While counter offers may be tempting and flattering, allowing you to stay in a comfortable spot and putting more money in your pocket, sometimes they’re anything but. Here’s why:

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You could damage your relationships. When you take a counter offer and stay with the company, your loyalty will constantly be questioned. One could easily argue that loyalty doesn’t exist these days, so who cares? Your boss does, and the constant worry that you have one foot out the door causes him or her to have a backup plan for your future replacement. The fear that you’ll soon enough be on your way (because you’ll likely leave anyway within the next year), you may be ousted from the more interesting or sensitive projects. Additionally, your manager may feel like she was forced into a difficult position, and if your peers find out what happened it could cause resentment. 

You’re likely not ready for the responsibility. An increase in pay is typically accompanied with additional responsibilities. While money may seem great right now, you may be thrown into a position that you may not be ready to handle.

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This is not always the case, of course, but it is in so many instances that it is wise to avoid gaining promotions through the threat of leaving for another company.

It doesn’t solve anything. When you stay on at a job for the money, this doesn’t address the underlying issues or reasons causing you to want to leave in the first place. The money is a temporary fix, and when the honeymoon wears off you will quickly realize the other issues that caused you grief still exist.

You could lose both jobs. On top of all the other potential problems, remember that you could end up losing not just one but both jobs if you push things too far. If you are banking on using an offer from another company just to get more money out of your employer, you’re playing a very dangerous game. Your boss may just walk you out. The same goes for the offering company if they feel you are using a counter offer to get more out of them.

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Potential Problems You May Face When Resigning

Your boss may use guilt tactics to keep you from leaving. This can be the most gut-wrenching part of the resignation process. If you are presented with a counter offer and promises to better your situation, make sure you’re not staying for the wrong reasons. Consider your employer’s motivations—is this about them or you?  Is it about making your situation better or does your boss just not have the time right now to invest your replacement search? A counter offer is a flattering gesture, but you need to be skeptical about the motivations behind any sudden changes and new conditions given by your employer in this situation.

If taking the counter offer makes the most sense, make sure you are considering your options carefully and you understand the possible outcomes of using an offer from another company as a leverage tool. By this point, you should have given a lot of thought to why you considered looking elsewhere in the first place. Remind yourself constantly.

Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, a niche job board for public relations, communications and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.