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Should I Stay or Should I Go: Do You Take That Counter-Offer?

David Law

Sun, 20 Jan, 2019

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 3 minutes


You probably have a rough plan— or, at least, an idea of what you want your career and success to look like. Ideally. And where you’re working right now did not fit the road map to that destination. Or, perhaps, it was a good stepping stone that you’ve outgrown. You’re chomping at the bit for bright, new growth opportunities.


So you start looking for a position in a different company, one that’s more aligned with your professional goals and values. And, after the process of shortlisting, CV-sending, and interviewing, you got an offer that you love!


But, when you go to your boss’ office to talk about your resignation (with due notice, of course), something unexpected happens: they make you a counter-offer. Perhaps, even a promotion and a meaty pay rise.


You’re at a crossroads and it’s not an easy choice. Should you take the counter-offer and stay at the company you already know? Or should you stick to your original plan and head over to your new position?


Think it through— the future of your career depends on what path you take today. Here are some questions you can reflect on to reach a good decision.


What Are Their Motives?


Much like you would in a game of Cluedo, you need to pinpoint the motives behind your company’s counter-offer. These will help you determine whether it’s a better idea to stay or to leave.


You might think, ‘Finally! Now they see my value and they’re doing their best to keep me’. While that is a possibility, it’s also possible that your company just wants to save the superior costs of letting you go and training a new candidate from scratch.


Timing Is Important


Why now? Yes, you’ve been offered a new position, a pay rise, or a promotion. But this only happened after you communicated that you wanted to leave. Ask yourself this question: ‘If they really value me, why didn’t they do it before?’


In order to feel valued by the company, it’s important to be clear on what your progression path is in it. If this is muddy, or communication on this topic has never been great, perhaps staying is not the best career choice.


‘Even You, Brutus?’


After you’ve offered your resignation and quite possibly sent in your notice, is the trust still intact? Does the company still believe in your loyalty, or are you the traitorous Brutus to their Julius Caesar?


If your manager thinks you’re already looking for a way out, they will probably be suspicious of you. Days off or appointments with your doctor might start looking like betrayal in their eyes. This could even lead to getting even less responsibility and projects than before, or even to being laid off later. Think: is it in your best interest to stay in an environment where you’re not trusted?


Go Back To The Roots


Why did you even start searching for a new job in the first place? When you get a counter-offer, it’s all too easy to get dazzled and forget why you originally wanted to leave.


The thing is— you probably had very good reasons for wanting a different job. Maybe you felt stifled in a routinary position and wanted new challenges. Maybe the company culture wasn’t really a good match for you, or you wanted more flexible working schedules.


All of these are valid reasons. While some of these factors might change if you accept a counter-offer, others will stay the same. Do your original reasons still have the same weight? Think carefully!


Do You Need a Change of Scenery?


After all is said and done, there’s still one key question to ask yourself: ‘What will make me happier?’ Perhaps, no matter what your manager says and does, it’s time for a fresh start and brand new challenges. If you just crave the new experiences and opportunities a new job has to offer, don’t doubt it— take the plunge!

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