A counter-offer can be a very flattering experience: your emotions may be swayed; you may lose your objectivity; you are going to be tempted to stay; “buyers remorse” will set in - that apprehension of change will urge you to reconsider your decision.
Accept the counter offer only if you can answer “no” to all the following:
1. Did I make the decision to seek other employment because I felt a new environment would provide me with the opportunity to enhance my career?
2. If I decided to stay after giving notice, will my loyalty be suspect and affect my chance for advancement in the future?
3. If my loyalty is questioned, is there the possibility that I will be an early layoff or termination if business slows down?
4. The raise they’re offering me to stay, is it really just my annual review coming early?
5. The raise I was offered is above the guidelines for my job. Does this mean they are “buying time” until a replacement can be found within the acceptable compensation guidelines for my job?
6. I got the counter-offer because I resigned. Will I always have to threaten to quit each time I want to advance?
Logic Must Prevail
As a professional, your career decisions must be made objectively, free of the emotional pressures you are likely to experience. Others will try to influence you, but sometimes only you know things are not right and will not get better. How do you explain a “gut feeling?” Are you expecting your company to be sorry to see you leave and to make some attempt to keep you. Their response should be considered flattering but it’s beset with pitfalls too numerous to risk.
It’s up to you to end your relationship as professionally as you began it. Write a letter that expresses your thanks for the opportunity they extended and tell them you enjoyed your relationship, but that your decision is irrevocable. Put it in your own words and either mail it personally or hand it to your immediate supervisor. Be pleasant but firm. Your new employer is anxious to have you start, so remember, two weeks notice is almost always sufficient. A counter offer is really a belated confirmation of the contributions you’ve made. Move ahead to your new job knowing you’ve made the right decision. After all, if you don’t look after your future, who will?