Congratulations! You’ve accepted a new job!
However, when you give notice to your current boss, he presents you with a counteroffer. What do you do?
Before you accept a counteroffer, consider the motives behind it. In most cases, a counteroffer is a stopgap effort to avoid the costs of unexpectedly losing a productive team member. But your move could lead to a host of career pitfalls.
Here are five reasons the smartest response to a counteroffer is “No, thanks.”
• Money isn’t everything. Remind yourself why you considered a move in the first place. Were you irritated by coworkers, overworked or under-challenged? Higher compensation won’t erase those problems. Once the ego boost wears off, you’ll likely find yourself focusing on the same old drawbacks.
• You’ve tipped your hand. Your threatened departure alerted your employer that you have an eye on the door. Your manager may now view you as a temporary (and newly expensive) part of the team—one that should be replaced when it’s easier to do so. You may even be moved to the front of the line for any future staffing cuts.
• Secrets get out. Even if you’ve been careful to keep your situation between you and your boss, chances are your coworkers will hear about it. When they learn that you not only tried to leave but were rewarded handsomely for doing so, they’re bound to resent you.
• Name decay. The damage to your reputation won’t be limited to your current coworkers. Anyone who’s aware of you at the other firm may take an even darker view. In the best-case scenario, they’ll feel relieved to have narrowly avoided hiring someone whose word can’t be trusted. At worst, they’ll assume that you were only using them to negotiate a raise. In either case, you’ve created a network of people who associate your name with broken promises and wasted time.
• The boomerang effect. Counteroffers often end up magnifying the shortcomings of your current job—the exact opposite of the desired effect. Even a major boost in pay won’t be much solace if you’ve damaged your relationships with coworkers and stunted your career prospects inside the firm and out. Before long, you may find yourself once again seeking a new employer, only with more urgency and fewer options.