So, you have been offered that new job and you have maneuvered your way through the salary negotiations and reached an agreement. What happens though if your current employer comes back with a counter offer?
Most people’s reaction upon receiving a counter offer is to feel flattered by the fact that their boss clearly wants to keep them – not to mention delighted by the prospect of an even higher salary. What makes accepting counter offers somewhat difficult, however, is that they have the potential to leave a nasty taste in the mouths of both the employer and the employee. Having revealed your hand, there is every chance that your current boss may now view you as disloyal and treat you with a degree of suspicion. In addition, unless money was the single source of your dissatisfaction with your current employer, then once the elation of a fatter pay check has worn off, you are soon going to find yourself just as disgruntled and miserable as you were before.
In some ways, jobs are like many other situations in life. Take a relationship, for example. If, for the most part, things are going along quite nicely, but there are one or two areas where you feel that adjustments and compromises need to be made, you would probably sit down with your partner and discuss them. You would consider what you had to lose and probably would not simply ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’. If your causes for concern were great enough and an acceptable compromise could not be reached, however, then you might consider moving on.
In an employment situation, sitting down and having that initial conversation with an employer can feel very difficult. Your dissatisfaction may have been brewing silently over a long period of time and the only escape appears to be straight out of the door and into something different. Before taking such a route, however, and even before applying for other jobs, it is well worth taking the time to consider what it is that you are hoping to achieve and whether it could be gained with your current employer.
Whether it is simply a question of money, or whether you do not feel that your current employer can offer you the career prospects that you seek, remember the old adage, ‘If you don’t ask, you won’t get’. Your boss may not even be aware of your discontent and may be perfectly willing to make the adjustments necessary to make your current job your dream job - if it is within his power to do so. Even if it is not possible to reach an acceptable compromise, at least when the ‘breakup’ comes both sides will better understand the reasons why it had to happen and so be able to turn it into a much more amicable experience. Burning your bridges by walking out and slamming the door is never a great idea. You never know when you might need that person again.
Changing jobs is of course a very personal matter, and only you can truly understand what you have to lose or to gain. Like with relationships, however, going back rarely works out – unless something significant has changed in the meantime. Rather than reach the point where you even need to consider a counter offer, far better to air your concerns in a professional and non-threatening way, make your decision and stick with it. It might hurt a little in the short term, but at least you will be able to look back in time to come and know that you did what was right at the time.
What do you think about accepting counter offers? Any good or bad experiences to share?
Todd Bavol Integrity Career Transitions www.integritycareertransitions.com