Never, Ever Accept a Counteroffer. Ever!
You’re unhappy at a company. You tried to do the right thing by reaching out to your manager about your grievances, but it’s all for naught, so you start searching for a new opportunity.
Hooray! You get a great job offer for another company, and you turn in your notice to your current company. To your surprise, they offer you a counteroffer. It may be generous. Should you accept it?
NO! NEVER! NOT IN A BILLION YEARS!!
There are four reasons why, even if the counteroffer is amazing:
- The main reason is the company will hold it against you in the long run. It will always be in the back of their mind that you looked elsewhere and you wanted to leave. Some employers may also resent you because they’ll think that you did this as a “blackmail” to get more money and benefits. If it’s time for “right-sizing”, the euphemism for “layoffs”, you will more than likely be at the top of the list.
- They’re only doing it because someone else sees your value. It’s like the situation where a person didn’t appreciate one’s partner, but as soon as someone else started paying attention to that partner, then the person starts to pay attention and appreciate the partner (cue the Jackson 5 song I Want You Back). If they – your manager and/or the company – already valued you as a vital and appreciated member of their company, you would have already been generously compensated.
- They’re only doing it because they don’t want to deal with the pain and disruption that occurs when an employee leaves. Again, if they – your manager and/or company – really valued and appreciated you, you would have already been generously compensated.
- You may not see any raises for a few years. Companies may give you a generous counter offer, but it may work against you, because some companies have salary caps, and if the offer put you at the top of the salary cap, then you may not see any raises, including cost of living adjustments (COLAs), for a few years. I’ve seen this happen to a colleague of mine. She accepted a counteroffer, and she hasn’t had a raise in 4 years. The excuse the company uses is she “is at the maximum salary for her position”.