Road to Career Ruin
Last month I wrote an article on how to resign because
unfortunately there are many wrong ways to leave a job. After
resigning you may be faced with the temptation of accepting a counter
offer from your soon to be departed employer. In the eight years of
recruiting I have only seen two instances where accepting a counter
offer actually worked out. Why?? I believe that Paul Hawkinson, a
former recruiter described it best when he wrote an outstanding
article on the pitfalls of accepting a counter offer for the National
Business Employment Weekly. Below is a reprint of that article.
Reprinted from the National Business Employment Weekly
From the publishers of the Wall Street Journal: Dow Jones & Company
By Paul Hawkinson
Mathew Henry, the 17th-century writer said, "Many a dangerous
temptation comes to us in fine colours that are but skin deep The same
can be said for counteroffers, those magnetic enticements designed to
lure you back into the nest after you've decided it's time to fly
The litany of horror stories I've come across in my years as an
executive recruiter, consultant and publisher provides a litmus test
that clearly indicates counteroffers should never be accepted ...
I define a counteroffer simply as an inducement from your current
employer to get you to stay after you've announced your intention to
take another job. We're not talking about those instances when you
receive an offer but don't tell your boss. Nor are we discussing
offers that you never intended to take, yet tell your employer about
anyway as a "they-want-me- but-I'm-staying with-you" ploy.
These are merely astute positioning tactics you may choose to use
to reinforce your worth by letting your boss know you have other
options. Mention of a true offer, however, carries an actual threat to
Interviews with employers who make counteroffers and employees who
accept them, have shown that as tempting as they may be, acceptance
may cause career suicide. During the past 20 years, I've seen only
isolated incidents in which an accepted counteroffer has benefited the
employee. Consider the problem in its proper perspective.
What really goes through a boss's mind when someone quits?
· "This couldn't happen at a worse time."
· "This is one of my best people. If I let him quit now, it'll wreak
havoc on the morale of the department."
· "I've already got one opening in my department. I don't need another
· "This will probably screw up the entire vacation schedule."
· "I'm working as hard as I can, and I don't need to do his work,
· "If I lose another good employee, the company might decide to 'lose'
· "My review is coming up and this will make me look bad."
· "Maybe I can keep him on until I find a suitable replacement."
What will the boss say to keep you in the nest? Some of
these comments are common.
· "I'm really shocked. I thought you were as happy with us as we
are with you. Let's discuss it before you make your final decision."
· "Aw gee, I've been meaning to tell you about the great plans we have
for you. But they have been confidential until now."
· "The V.P. has you in mind for some exciting and expanding
· "Your raise was scheduled to go into effect next quarter but we'll
make it effective immediately."
· "You're going to work for who?"
Let's face it. When someone quits, it's a direct reflection on the
boss. Unless you're really incompetent or a destructive thorn in his
side, the boss might look bad by "allowing" you to go. His gut
reaction is to do what has to be done to keep you from leaving until
he's ready. That's human nature.
Unfortunately, it's also human nature to want to stay unless your
work life is abject misery. Career changes, like all ventures into the
unknown, are tough. That's why bosses know they can usually keep you
around by pressing the right buttons.
Before you succumb to a tempting counteroffer, consider these
· Any situation in which an employee is forced to get an outside
offer before the present employer will suggest a raise, promotion or
better working conditions, is suspect.
· No matter what the company says when making its counteroffer, you'll
always be considered a fidelity risk. Having once demonstrated your
lack of loyalty (for whatever reason), you'll lose your status as a
"team player" and your place in the inner circle.
· Counteroffers are usually nothing more than stall devices to give
your employer time to replace you.
· Your reasons for wanting to leave still exist. Conditions are just
made a bit more tolerable in the short term because of the raise,
promotion or promises made to keep you.
· Counteroffers are only made in response to a threat to quit. Will
you have to solicit an offer and threaten to quit every time you
deserve better working conditions?
· Decent and well-managed companies don't make counteroffers ...
EVER! Their policies are fair and equitable. They won't be
subjected to "counteroffer coercion" or what they perceive as
If the urge to accept a counteroffer hits you, continue to clean
out your desk as you count your blessings.
If you have any questions, comments or would like a particular topic
addressed in a future issue please send an e-mail to: AskLarry@4caliber.com.
Source: Larry Barlow of Tax Advantage Personnel, Inc. Copyright
Tax Advantage Personnel, Inc.