October 20, 2017

When is it the Right Time to Walk Away…Even if it’s More Money?

By ThinkingAhead

What do you do when you resign from your current job, but your employer produces a counteroffer to persuade you to stay? Where should your loyalty lie — with your new employer, or your old one? How can you determine if accepting or rejecting your employer’s offer is the best choice for you? Moving to another job is stressful, and after all, if your employer values you, perhaps you should stay.

While it can be extremely flattering to be offered more money by an existing employer, counteroffers are a time to remain steadfast in your intentions and to avoid allowing emotions to alter your course. Here are five circumstances where not accepting a counteroffer could be the best move for you.

  1. When you don’t feel challenged enough. 

Most employees would appreciate a higher salary, but unfortunately, higher salaries don’t necessarily increase employee motivation. People who feel unappreciated, unmotivated, or unchallenged at work are more likely to apply for external positions than those who simply want a raise. Consider intrinsic motivators: achievement, recognition, responsibility, growth, advancement, etc. If you lack intrinsic motivators in your current role, it’s possible that no amount of money will help you feel fulfilled.

  1. When you’ve outgrown your role.

If you’re no longer learning, it’s probably time to move on. Before pursuing other opportunities, talk to your current employer, who may be able to direct you to professional development resources. But even if your employer increases your salary in a counteroffer, it’s unlikely that the core functions of your role will change — and staying could only delay the inevitable.

No one benefits when development is stifled, and both you and your employer may be better off if you move on. After all, there’s likely someone else at your current company (or elsewhere) who would benefit from the opportunities your position has to offer, just like you did.

  1. When you have unfulfilled career aspirations.

With two offers on the table, think about what you really want to do professionally. Do you aspire to executive management, or would you prefer to remain an individual contributor? Are you looking to broaden your skillset, or narrow your focus?

Reflecting on your career ambitions should help you decide whether or not to accept your employer’s counteroffer, but keep in mind that more money doesn’t necessarily mean advancement opportunities. Don’t feel you have to remain in your current role if you feel it would hold you back from achieving your professional goals.

  1. When accepting doesn’t feel right. 

Even if you think the most logical decision would be to accept your employer’s counteroffer — after all, a higher salary may be a compelling reason to stay — pay attention to your feelings about this decision.

Reflect on the reasons why you decided to pursue external opportunities, and whether or not any problems would be solved if you stayed. Accepting a counteroffer may simply be a temporary solution, and you could find yourself in a similar situation in the near future. If staying in your current role doesn’t feel right even with additional pay, you may feel more at ease turning your employer down.

  1. When you can continue your professional relationship.

When a high-performing employee reaches a crossroads in their career, it’s often better for parties to part ways. But the termination of an employment contract doesn’t have to be the end of a business relationship: if no bridges are burned, employees and employers can be valuable contacts, and former employees often return to their old companies years later. On the other hand, accepting a counteroffer could completely change your dynamic with your employer — nobody wants to believe their employees are just in it for the money. Think carefully about the importance of your professional relationship when deciding whether or not to accept.

The bottom line: if you pursued external positions for reasons other than a higher salary, accepting a counteroffer might be counterproductive. However, if you are underpaid in your current role and need to “right” your situation, let us know. We can coach you through ethical, professional, and emotionally intelligent ways to negotiate better compensation with your current employer.