Last Updated: 4 June 2023
Less than 20% of employees who accept a counter offer stay for six months. Within one year, that number drops to less than 10%. I am going to share why you should never accept a counter offer from your employer.
But first, you need to look at yourself like a business that is doing business with another company rather than viewing yourself as an employee. The moment the company doesn’t need you, you are gone.
When at a cross roads, the company will always make the decision that will benefit the company and the shareholders over you. It doesn’t matter how loyal you have been or how long you have worked there.
You would be wise to treat your career the same way. Do what is best for your long term career. Don’t be lulled into accepting a counter offer to avoid the discomfort of starting a new job. Here’s why…
Many companies have policies against counteroffers. Even if they give in and promise to increase your compensation, promote you, give you more stock options, they only reason that they put together the offer was because they were not prepared for you to leave.
If you stay, the next time you tell them you are leaving, they will be prepared and you will likely not get another counter offer. You might even get let go on the spot.
At many companies, promotions and raises come from a pool to be distributed across the team. If you receive a disproportionate amount in order to keep you at the expense of your coworkers, this can create some resentment. They won’t look at you the same. The team dynamics have changed.
Many times, your salary bump will be short lived. Your manager might use the offer to buy just enough time to hire and train a replacement with the plan to let you go as soon as possible.
Or what if your manager is cool but things get tough for the company and it’s time to lay off employees? Who will be on the chopping block? Probably the employees who are perceived as not being committed to the company and who are making more money than their coworkers.
Be honest with yourself. If they viewed you as a rockstar programmer they would have tried to keep you happy to prevent you from getting to that point where you felt like you needed to leave. They would regularly engage with you to see how they can help you along in your career.
This doesn’t mean you are bad at what you do. Perhaps you are a rockstar with your programming language, but your manager merely likes a different language or domain.
If you are stuck in an underpaid position, then your manager is content to either take advantage of you or just doesn’t value you or your skillset.
Even if you get a decent counteroffer with a higher salary and increased responsibilities, your long term career is likely dead in the water. Management will not trust you and will look to promote other software engineers instead of you.
Now for the most important reason you should decline a counter offer from your employer. Dude, you were already looking to leave. Why is that?
Perhaps your boss doesn’t appreciate your contributions. Or the environment has become toxic. Maybe you are tired of working late nights and putting in overtime to meet deadlines that end up not being that important.
You might be tired of the project or you’re looking to change skillsets. None of these factors go away. Some actually get worse.
When you hit that point in your job, it’s time to go. The smart decision is to move on and don’t look back. Leave behind the baggage and open yourself up to new opportunities that can really propel your career forward.
Wouldn’t it be better if you could avoid these problems to begin with? You should check out this video on the top red flags to watch out for in an interview.
I’ll see you in the next one. Lates.