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You successfully navigated sneaking off to job interviews while keeping your full-time schedule and came back with an offer in hand. But now instead of wishing you luck, your manager is suddenly paying attention to you – making the counteroffer with additional perks and a pay raise to stay. What should you do?
Is Your Current Employer Just Buying Time?
Losing an employee can send a department into a lurch, especially when there’s already too much work to go around. When you tell your employer you’re leaving, they may start to think about the remaining employees losing morale as they have to cover for you or about how much work just won’t get done. But there may be more than operational concerns at play.
Allowing you to walk could give the impression that conditions are less than ideal. Worse, employee departures could indicate a situation that’s beyond management’s command – so one of the first challenges others will face is regaining some degree of control – genuine or not.
If your organization is perceived as stingy, or has exhibited a pattern of parsimony, then management may view any raise they give you as a temporary cost while they search for your replacement. In a few weeks or months, you could be out of a job, but without a new offer in hand.
Are You Really Moving for Financial Reasons?
It can be tough to turn down a big raise, but was money the only reason you were job searching? If you were miserable in your current job or didn’t see opportunities to grow, a bigger paycheck will only provide a temporary boost before you once again start thinking about greener pastures.
If you were happy except for being underpaid, are you going to be underpaid again in the near future? If your employer hasn’t recognized your value and growth up until this point, why are you confident you’ll see appropriate raises going forward?
What Do You Think Will Happen in the Future?
There are three possible outcomes if you decide to stay. First, your employer never valued you and never will, and their resentment at you asking for more will only speed your exit at what may not be an ideal time for you.
Second, your employer may personally value you but either not be able to afford your to pay you what you’re worth or be willing to accept a lower quality but cheaper replacement. At best, staying will flatline your growth, and at worst, you could become a target during budget cuts.
Finally, there are those rare Ebenezer Scrooge moments where your employer finally recognizes your true value and that things have to permanently change going forward. If, and only if, you find yourself in one of those situations, you should consider taking the counteroffer.