Job Offer

A reader writes…

I received a job offer from another company AND a counteroffer from my current employer.  Should I stay or should I go?

Dear “Joe Strummer,”

You must be feeling pretty hot-to-trot these days!  Not only does a new company want you… but you’re being asked to stay (with probably a pay increase, promotion, or perk) by your current  employer.  Now before your head gets too big … I suggest you check your ego at the door and get ready for some serious soul searching.  You have a lot at stake here, and you don’t want to blow it!

Let me start by reminding you that this is a personal decision.  There’s a reason why you were looking at new opportunities in the first place (unless a headhunter discovered you).  Maybe you feel you’re in a dead-end position, you could use a new challenge, or – you simply hate your boss!  Whatever the circumstance, you’ve explored outside of the “cubicle.”  

Some might say that a counteroffer is like a kiss of death and that you should go with the new job opportunity.  What they mean is, even though you’re being given a counteroffer, your current employer knows you’ve been looking around, and your status as a “team player” will immediately become questionable.  Can you be trusted to stay on the job and carry out your responsibilities? Or are you going to jump ship the next time another opportunity rolls around?   The sense of “partnership” may go out the window.

On the other hand…

  • I’ve never seen anyone get fired for sharing an offer letter from another company.  In fact, it can serve as a wake-up call to your current employer.  As time goes on, your skills, experience, and contributions to the company get lost in the shuffle.  A job offer from another company is like a slap in the face.  If you’re a key player, your current employer will do what they can to keep you. Bare in mind, this conversation with your boss is never easy and can be completely nerve-wracking… Who knows how he or she will respond!
  • Here’s something else to consider…maybe the grass isn’t greener on the other side.  After receiving a job offer and a counteroffer,  maybe you should re-assess yourself and your situation. Is your current position as bad as you thought? Changing careers can be risky – you’re suddenly the new kid on the block in a completely different environment.  However, if you choose to stay put, keep in mind that your manager knows you considered leaving… he or she may lack trust in you.
  • Is it about the money?  While salary is a key factor, most employers will say that job satisfaction comes from other areas such as company culture, work/life balance, skills enhancements, etc.  The fact is, none of these people have to pay YOUR bills… so it’s up to you to decide whether money is the real reason for looking elsewhere. Depending on your situation, a job may actually be all about the money. If this is the case, it never hurts to make some sort of attempt to increase your salary.  
  • Are you feeling guilty? You’ve been with a company for several years, and you feel pretty loyal.  The idea of sharing an offer letter from another company feels like you’re “cheating” on a partner, right? 

Who needs the slap in the face now?

Company “loyalty” fell out the window a long time ago. Despite your hard work, the fact is, a company can (and will) drop you at any given moment.  It’s not like it was back in Grandpa Joe’s day when people spent their entire career at the same place, come hell or high water!  Times have changed. 

So what’s my advice?  Be loyal to YOURSELF.  Consider all of the pros and cons, be confident in your approach, and stick with your decision. This is a good “problem” to have, and you’re probably envied by many of our readers.  Good luck!

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. J. D.
    Apr 09, 2011 @ 17:07:19

    “Should I stay or should I go?”

    It all depends. I am a woman. I want to be loyal, but know that loyalty is overrated and doesn’t necessary go hand in hand with career advancement.

    I took the high road. I gave my boss first dibs on keeping me there.

    I asked my current employer for a reclassification to bring my job title and level in line with the work I am actually doing to support his organization. Being very happy with my work performance, he fully agreed. I knew at the time, even if approved by HR and upper management, I wouldn’t get a base pay bump anytime soon, but perhaps sometime later to bring me in line with my colleagues.

    When the paperwork sat with upper management pending their approval for 3 months, I started applying elsewhere within the company.

    This week I let my supervisor know I was granted an interview for two posted positions I applied for. He said he was delighted for me, and asked me to please bring back to him any offer I got so he can run it by his managers (as they may want to counteroffer).

    Oddly enough, the jobs I interviews for are working for managers a level above my current upper management, but in a different directorate of the company. If offered a position, it will be a promotion with a pay increase.

    Of course, I fully expect a matching counter offer from my current upper managers, but the writing is on the wall. They had their chance and blew it. I don’t feel it’s in my best interest to force their reluctant hand.

    Sadly, they will loose $ in the end, because the person they hire to replace me will have to be at the higher pay scale and job classification.



  2. Larri
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 06:44:20

    I just loved this article. It is so insightful. I read it yesterday and am back today to look over it again. Thanks.



  3. Wanda Rice
    Feb 15, 2011 @ 09:19:52

    If it took a job offer from another company for your current employer to step up to the bat and make you an offer commensurate with your skills and value, then the current employer should have done that PRIOR to you having another company see your value. Just Saying.



  4. Tom T
    Feb 15, 2011 @ 08:56:00

    Once you give notice the dynamics of the workplace change, like it or not. in my forty year career I have seen this happen to others as well as myself. I particularly remember one fellow employee who accepted a counter offer. The two of us talked about it and I clearly remember him saying, “It won’t happen to me, we respect each other.” Not so; that particular person was out the door within five months and it was not of his choosing.
    It is your choice…..



  5. Tammy
    Feb 15, 2011 @ 08:31:44

    I would weigh all the pros and cons on both sides here. I stayed thinking I was a valued employee but now find myself unemployed due to downsizing two months later. Good luck but be true to yourself.



  6. Ronnie Barnes
    Feb 15, 2011 @ 08:26:06

    I will stay you never will know what’s going to happen at the next job.



  7. Marcus
    Feb 15, 2011 @ 08:20:23

    In my opinion, once you have gone down that path and have played the game the trust is no longer there. Your better off moving on, as tough choices come down at your current company later you may be the one they give the boot, without a thought but as a direct result of the game played. Do whats right for you and move on …. don’t second guess yourself.

    I speak from experience, I should have left rather than playing “The Game”.



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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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