The Science Behind a Counter Offer

How often do you hear someone say “damn I wish I never got that divorce?” Never, that never happens. A counter-offer is like an ex-spouse luring you back in after you swore to yourself this was the last and final straw. So, if you take away nothing from this blog, take this - don’t accept a counter offer from your current employer, stay strong. When you are looking to leave a job, you are looking to leave for REAL reasons, you don’t just make them up over time, so do yourself a favor and write them down.  Counter offers are those dangling carrots in life that often look so good, but they rarely ever turn out that way. Go ahead, ask anyone you know who has accepted a counter offer in the past, and ask them how that turned out for them.

The science behind a counter-offer is that “money fixes everything.” The reality behind the counter offer is that “more money is just a band-aid that fixes the situation temporarily. More money may be able to buy you a shiny new boat, a new car or even a nice vacation, but it will not fix the unhealthy workplace you were trying so desperately to escape. My advice to you is to just say no if a counter offer finds its way into your hands. Don’t get me wrong, money is fantastic and it can certainly help fix a lot of things, but don’t let it be the driving factor behind your professional happiness. You spend anywhere from 40-80 hours a week at your job, time is money, so before you even consider a counter offer from your current employer, think about what your time is actually worth these days.

When you accept a counter-offer, here is what you just told your boss (Who, by the way, no longer likes you):

  • “I know I just told you my happiness was important, but now that you threw more money at my unhappiness, I’m happy.” REALLY? Be true to yourself, do not undermine your own happiness for a few extra bucks. It makes you look money hungry and it dulls your confidence.

  • “Since I was ready to jump ship, you now know I am capable of interviewing behind your back and lying to your face about my ‘dentist appointments’. You can no longer trust me. Our relationship will be dysfunctional, but because you threw money at me, I’m willing to deal with dysfunction, and I hope you are too!”

  • “If the company goes through hard times financially, I know I will be on the short list to be let go. I’ve broken the trust of everyone and now you know I am not fully committed, engaged or even bought into this organization for the long haul.”

  • “I’ll stay for the short term to get my new salary on paper, but the minute an awesome opportunity comes across my desk, offering to keep up with my new salary requirements, I’m out of here. Also, please don’t check my browser history, I pass my days here looking for new jobs.”

  • “Since I thought I was really going to leave here, I already told all my co-worker’s before I told you that I was peacing O-U-T. I hate it for you, but now they will all know you threw money at me to stay and it won’t take them long before they ask for some of that green!”

So, here is my advice, if you are thinking about leaving your job, write down all the reasons why. Carry these with you in a safe place and add to the list when you need to. Give it three months or maybe six, and continue to re-evaluate. Ask yourself, what is making you unhappy? Define it, own it, and discuss it with your supervisor. Don’t be a passive-aggressive, non communicative idiot who does nothing to the fix the problem, but loves to bitch about it. Step up to the plate, set a meeting with your boss lady or boss man and voice why you are unhappy.  Have a conversation, bring your list and work on a plan to fix it, together. Don’t ever give your notice until you have thought it through 100%, every angle, every outcome. Now, if they increase your salary by a couple million and throw in a hot Ferrari, maybe just this one time… life is short right?

Do The Right Thing,

Your Friends @ OIAM