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Just Say No to That Counteroffer



You finally sit down with your manager to break the news that you found another job opportunity and are leaving the company. Your manager is caught off-guard, panics, and does everything possible to get you to stay. Suddenly, you are hearing things like, “You were about to get a promotion” and, “We’ll give you that raise you’ve been wanting.” It feels like you have come out on top. It feels like you have gotten what you wanted. But here’s the thing: you haven’t. According to the Wall Street Journal, 80% of all people who accept a counteroffer leave their company or are terminated within six months. It is easy to be tempted to stay, but you need to stand your ground and not waver on your decision to leave. Here are three major reasons why you should just say no to that counteroffer.

Making it About the Money When you hate your job, it might seem like more money will make you happy. The truth is, when you actually like what you are doing, money isn’t an issue. If you bring up the compensation your potential employer is offering, you are more or less asking for a counteroffer. Therefore, if you accept that counteroffer, you send the message that you are only in it for the money. And another thing – if they offered you more money just to stay, they may be biding time until they can find a replacement (most likely for a lower salary). You could also have a harder time negotiating for a raise in the future since they already upped your pay to keep you there.

The Respect is Already Gone You are also potentially burning a bridge with the other firm if you reject their offer. They will likely have to go through the entire process again with another candidate, and you probably lost any future opportunities with them if you decide to leave your company again.

Nothing Has Actually Been Fixed: Staying put is comfortable, but nothing good ever came from comfort zones. When you get the raise, it will give you the false confidence that you are making progress, when in reality you are just stuck further. You may feel better for a few weeks, but then it will hit you: nothing has changed. Money won’t make the problems go away. So, remember why you wanted to leave in the first place and what the new job offers (besides money); more responsibility, a better company culture, better benefits, new challenges and learning opportunities, and professional development. When you give your boss the two weeks’ notice, their immediate reaction will probably be to counteroffer. Remember that it’s a stall for time, a band-aid to try to patch things up, and usually always in their best interest. Of course they don’t want to scramble to find and train someone to replace you. They have put time and money in, and they do not want to lose out on that investment to another company. Nonetheless, you ultimately need to think about investing in your own future and what will be best for you in the long-term. As exciting as a counteroffer may be, everyone will be better off if you turn it down.

Have you ever been given a counteroffer? How did you respond? Share your experience and advice in the comments section!Sure, it might be nice to hear your employer beg you to stay, but then you may realize you basically had to threaten to leave before they recognized your value. Is that someone you really want to work for? On the flip side, all respect they may have had for you is now out the window too. You were about to leave them high and dry, and they have no reason to believe you won’t do it again. Now, you’re no longer a team-player in their eyes. When layoffs come around, you will be more vulnerable to get cut over the “loyal” employees.

Alan Cutter

Alan Cutter founded New York City's premier digital media recruiting agency, AC Lion International, and continues to lead the growing company as their fearless CEO. For over 20 years, AC Lion has been the trusted provider of revenue generating talent in the digital and technology landscape. Our reach spans from innovative venture-backed startups to enterprise level organizations. AC Lion is a proud member of the Lionseye Group, a collective of brands furthering talent acquisition through Venture Capital, HR Technology and Thought Leadership.