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The Counteroffer

Surveys show that eight out of ten employees who accept counteroffers don’t complete the following year with their employer.

Why shun counteroffers?  Because the factors that caused you to seek or entertain a better offer are likely to remain in force.  Besides which, your current employer will probably lose trust in your loyalty.

Accepting a counteroffer may permanently damage your reputation with your would-be employer.  Your prospective new colleagues may conclude that you were merely using them to gain leverage; you weren’t in earnest as a candidate.  Never underestimate the value of your perceived integrity in this situation.

The best response to a counteroffer is to listen politely, perhaps even sleep on it, but decline.  If your current firm denied you advancement before you secured an outside offer, it will probably thwart you the next time you fell ready to advance.  What’s more, your firm may start looking to replace you the day you accept the counteroffer.  Your plans for leaving may not be forgotten!

Leave on the Right Note

Before leaving the firm, take time to speak with each of your support staff, peers, executive personnel, and others with whom you’ve worked.  To the extent practical, clear up any unfinished business.  Be sensitive to others’ reactions and keep your conversations positive and constructive.

Some people naturally express their own discontentment, and may egg you on to agree with them.  Don’t! Instead, express your appreciation and tell your colleagues you will miss them.  A little time spent nurturing relationships before leaving for your new job will go a long way to build support for your future.

Also keep in mind that it is a professional courtesy to give your employer ample notice to help them prepare for your departure-typically, 2-3 weeks.  However, you should try to get out as soon as possible to avoid recurring invitations to tell your story, and to avoid having to deal with frustrations and pressures at the job as the firm adjust to your leaving.

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