Posted

When you go to resign your current job, counter offers are often given by employers because the employee does a poor job resigning, often due to feelings of guilt, deceit, or concerns of feeling disloyal. Remember you are moving on for a better opportunity and no one can blame you for taking an opportunity to improve your career.

Don’t drag it out. Tell your boss within the first 10 seconds and start by saying, “I’m resigning.” Check out our Resigning Your Current Job post for more tips.

No matter what kind of relationship you had with your boss before your resignation, some of the following thoughts are now going through his or her mind:

  • This couldn’t have happened at a worse time!
  • Boy, this will really screw up the vacation schedule.
  • I can’t lose one of my best people. It will destroy morale in the whole department.
  • I already have one opening in my department now. I don’t need another one.
  • I don’t have time to interview, hire, and train a new employee.

Counter offers can sound like this:

  • “This raise was supposed to go into effect next quarter but we’ll start it the first of the month instead.”
  • “I’ve been meaning to tell you about our plans for expansion, (which, of course, include you), but it’s been confidential and I couldn’t tell you before now.”
  • “I’m really shocked! I thought you were as happy with us as we are with you. Let’s discuss it before you make your final decision.”

As the person receiving the counter offer, we like to think employers give counter offers because you are the greatest employee ever and they can’t live without you. But often employers make counter offers because:

  • It’s cheaper (and easier) to keep you on board until they can find a suitable replacement for you.
  • The boss felt like the employee misinterpreted their intention to increase the scope of their job.
  • The boss overreacted.
  • The boss knew that was what the employee wanted to hear.

A helpful exercise is to write a letter to your boss that you will never send and that your boss will never read. In that letter, you should spell out why you are leaving, why you are unhappy and why you want to move on. Read it and re-read it until you can confidently state your resignation to your manager.

Counter offers are made only because you plan to quit. Will you have to solicit another offer and quit every time you want a raise or a promotion?

Before even contemplating that tempting counter offer, consider the results of a study published in the Wall Street Journal. In this study conducted in a three-year period, over 50% of the individuals receiving counter offers after turning in their resignations accepted them.

Within eighteen months, 93% of those accepting counter offers had left, some voluntarily and some fired. ALL of the remaining 7% were actively seeking new employment.

Points to Ponder on Counter Offers

  • Any situation, in which an employee is forced to get an outside offer before being offered a raise or promotion, is suspect.
  • No matter what a company says when making a counter offer, the person who stays will always be questioned in terms of loyalty. They are no longer considered to be a team player and will usually be the first to go.
  • Counter offers are nothing more than stall devices to give the employer time to find a suitable replacement.
  • Decent companies don’t make counter offers… ever! Their policies are fair, equitable, and clearly stated and implemented.

Just keep these tips in mind before a counter offer is made, and you will be better prepare for facing that conversation.


Leave a Reply