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. Bear 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!