Why you should treat that counter offer with caution

Leaving a company to move to a new job is always difficult, especially if you’ve been there for any substantial period of time. If you have a good relationship with your manager, or feel a sense of loyalty to the company, working up the courage to hand in your notice can be a real challenge – even if you know it’s in the best interests of your career. In some cases, even once you’ve made your decision to leave and accepted another offer, your company will do their best to keep you by matching or bettering what the new company are offering. This may take the form of a pay-rise, additional responsibilities or a change in your role. Generally speaking, however, counter offers should be treated with a fair degree of caution – here’s why.

Your reasons for leaving probably haven’t changed

If you’re looking for a new position, and interviewing at different companies, then you’re clearly not entirely happy in your current role. There are countless reasons why people choose to leave a job, but money is rarely the sole factor in the decision. Clearly, it’s an important consideration, but, often, a pay-rise doesn’t solve the problems which made you want to leave in the first place. Sometimes, counter-offers will attempt to address these problems, giving you more responsibility or changing the parameters of your role, but in many cases, the issues will resurface a couple of months down the line, leaving you back at square one. It’s always important to remember why you decided to leave and why you accepted another offer – if the counter offer doesn’t address these issues, then don’t be tempted into settling for what is, often, the easier option.

Your company may see you in a different light

Say you accept a counter offer and settle back into the same job on a slightly higher salary. It’s difficult to see how this won’t affect the dynamic between you and your company. You may now be viewed with a touch more cynicism than before, and there may be a little less loyalty and goodwill towards you than there was previously. What is for certain is that they will now be a lot more prepared for your departure – you have already handed in your notice once, and they will be ready for the possibility that you will do so again.

You may find it difficult to refocus

Starting a new job is exciting – it’s a fresh start in a new environment, and an opportunity to meet new people and learn new things. So it can be somewhat anticlimactic, once you’ve allowed yourself to get excited about a new opportunity, to go back to doing the same thing you were doing before. You may find that your motivation is slightly diminished and that you find it difficult to refocus, especially if your role hasn’t significantly changed. We have seen countless examples of people accepting counter offers, only to be back on the hunt for a new position within a matter of months.

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