As most of you know by now, I resigned my job last week. The biggest reasons I resigned from my job were career stagnation and lack of job satisfaction. I approached my managers multiple times over the last 9 months or so to try and find something more challenging within the company, but I was told nothing was available.
This has been a long time coming, and I gave my managers plenty of time to work with me. In fact, I was a little surprised that they were surprised when I resigned.
The counter offer
Shortly after I came into work yesterday morning my manager asked to see me. I closed the door to his office and sat down. He started off with a little small talk, “How is the transition plan coming?, I hate to see you go,” etc.
Then, he made his offer. “Ryan, we like the work you’ve been doing and we want you to stay. I sat down with my boss, and he agreed that you are a valuable asset to our company. After crunching numbers and getting corporate approval, we are prepared to make a counter offer to keep you here.”
I didn’t give any response because I was already 99% sure that I wasn’t going to accept any counter offer they made. But I let him play his hand.
When my manager saw I wasn’t going to ask him how much the counter offer was, he proceeded. “As you know, things have been tight, but I was able to convince upper management that we needed to keep you here. They gave me approval to offer you a 20% raise.”
His offer was met with silence from my end. He waited for my reaction, but I didn’t really have one. I was impressed they offered a 20% raise because that is very high for my current company. But, money doesn’t address the reason I looked for a new job in the first place. He looked at me with expectation in his eyes. I declined his offer because I am not interested in staying with my current company.
He asked what it would take to keep me, and I told him I had already made my commitment to another company. He pressed for more details about my new job, and I eventually told him the job offer I accepted came with a 32% raise. At this point, it didn’t bother me to share that information. Our professional community is fairly tight knit, so I think they could have found out the rough numbers anyway. But I stressed that the money was not my driving factor for leaving – it was a combination of things, mostly career opportunity and growth.
He asked me to wait and he came back a few minutes later with his manager and the guy I ultimately report to. Long story short, they ended up offering to match the salary offer I received from my new company. I thanked them for their time and for the offer, but I stood firm. I was not accepting the counter offer.
Why I won’t accept the counter offer
I tried for 9 months to get a different assignment within my company. I talked to managers within and outside my work stream (with my direct manager’s knowledge). However, the company is doing some restructuring and they asked me to be patient. I showed more than enough initiative and patience, and in the end, my company didn’t meet my professional needs.
What I don’t understand is why they suddenly perceived me as valuable as soon as I mentioned leaving? It’s frustrating and I was a little upset until I decided it doesn’t matter. I am leaving.
There are other reasons I won’t accept their counter offer.
- I gave my commitment to my new company. I signed a job offer, and I don’t want to burn a bridge I just built.
- Perception. I didn’t want my coworkers or managers thinking I was staying around until I could find a better opportunity.
- My future with the company. Would accepting a counter offer affect my chances at promoting or receiving raises? Or would I be perceived as a flight risk and relegated to menial tasks until they could find a replacement.
- Would my role change? The main reason I am leaving is not money. While a 30% raise is enough to make me consider leaving, that was not my main motivation. What they don’t realize is that I never would have submitted my resume or application elsewhere if they had worked with me sooner. Even with the counter offer they gave me, they didn’t address the underlying issues of job satisfaction and career growth.
Be prepared for a counter offer
I had an idea my company would make a counter offer, so I prepared for the offer before I even submitted my resignation. I made a list of all the issues I had with my current role. Reviewing these issues before accepting the new job offer and before turning in my resignation was very beneficial in helping me make my decision.
Not every company will make you a counter offer, but if they do, you should be prepared for it before you resign. Otherwise, you may decide to do something before thinking it through.
Accepting or declining a counter offer is a personal decision
In the end, you know what is best for you. But I strongly recommend being prepared for a counter offer before you even resign, then looking at all your options before making a decision to accept or decline a counter offer. Will the counter offer resolve the underlying issues that forced your resignation? Will money alone fix the problem? Do you need a flexible work schedule? How about a different role within the company? Only you know your situation, and only you can answer those questions.