Handing your resignation in when you have a new confirmed job can be an enviable situation to be in. It is probable, if you have troubled yourself to search out a new employer and post, that you have been unhappy in your current job, income is not acceptable, career prospects have been restricted or maybe all three.
If you have been having bad relations with your management, you can say goodbye with a little style and perhaps even offer a clear direction as to where they can stick their lousy job. Unfortunately, the idyllic scenario you have no doubt played out in your head, where you tell your boss a few home truths about his suspect parenthood and he becomes tearful and gets on his knees pleading for you to stay, is, sadly, unlikely to happen. However, he/she may make a counter offer. You may be offered benefits in the form of a promotion, a raise in pay, a better work environment so you do not leave.
This all sounds very flattering. What a boost to your ego! They obviously do value you as an employee after all. So much so that they are going to raid the budget in order to keep your skills in their company. As you look godlike upon your boss, a lot of emotions are flying around now as you try and balance while levitating 6 inches off the ground. That boss you thought of as a monster and a complete cretin – why, he was just misunderstood. He certainly can spot talent. Obviously. A certain affection is beginning to bud. You now want to take him out for a drink and introduce him to your mother.
Stop! Let’s not get carried away here.
Let go of all those cosy emotions and start thinking with your head again. Being wanted is very seductive, but it is highly likely this counter offer comes with a great deal of baggage and a future that is more restricted than the one you had before.
Look at the stats. According to a study by “CyberCoders” 4 out of 5 employees who accept a counter offer still leave the company within 9 months.
So why should the boss present a counter offer?
Your boss is going through a few emotions himself. First of all, he is going to feel rejected and he is also aware that in a strange kind of a way that he is going to look “dumped”. Not a good image, but on a corporate level it is likely to affect how management views his/her own achievements. Too many employee resignations are going to affect his stability and record as a manager.
Your boss is well aware that the process of hiring new staff is long, complex, highly expensive and time consuming. Understanding current employees and training them up is much easier. An employee leaving will also affect the morale of a team and may lead to others looking for the nearest exit. There are also all of the holiday and absentee rota’s which are going to get mangled and take a hit if you leave. The bottom line for a manager trying to keep everything in place has got to be, unless you are a complete waste of space at your job and hated by everyone on the team, it is far better to keep you on than let you go.
You are probably feeling a little deflated now. Sorry.
But this is all about you getting you want you really want. In other words, returning to the reasons why you wanted to change your job in the first place.
You need to be asking yourself (now you are going to have to be honest with yourself here…) if you are so wonderful why haven’t you been offered the pay rise/promotion/vacation/raspberry doughnuts before? Will it mean you will need to give in your notice next time to get appreciation?
How will things really change for the future?
So looking at the scenario in the cold light of the day and the real reasons behind counter offers let’s visit that extra baggage you will be taking on:
- Job security will diminish
Taking into consideration why your boss has made the offer it is not about holding on to your unique talent at all. This is about keeping the boat afloat and your boss will give you the minimum to entice you to stay. You may have been given a pay raise but you are still in the same work environment which before had led you to handing in your notice. Most importantly – now you have lost the trust of management. Any further promotions within the company is unlikely as you have now been tainted. However, you are likely to be top of the list when there is a need for redundancies. You have become dispensable.
- You may be shunned
This comes back to all those chaotic emotions again. At first, for whatever reasons your boss was dis-empowered and put in a place where he had to bargain for you not to leave. Once this is over, the anxiety will dissipate and it may well be replaced by passive anger and spite. You will now spend the rest of the time at the company on the fringes and ostracized from the inner circle.
- Bad career move
Taking a counter offer would be a bad career move. You have also let down the company you were going to move to. Clearly at some stage you felt this would be a good company to work for. What are the chances of them looking at you a second time in the future if another opportunity arises?
When you get that counter offer think twice. Separate your decision making processes from any feelings that may be boosting your ego. The fact is it isn’t about you anyway in reality – so get your feet back on the ground. Re-visit why you wanted to leave in the first place. Are the changes offered really going to make a real change? Recognise the negative stuff that comes with such an offer, and if you do go with it – an absolute last resort – make sure you have got it in writing.
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