You resigned. You were given a counter offer. Now what?

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You resigned. You were given a counter offer. Now what?

By: Linda Matias

Breaking up is hard to do. To gear up for the fateful day, the "dumper" usually plays the scenario over and over in his or her mind until the perfect break up line is found; a line that has the right balance of honesty and diplomacy. The dumper's vision usually ends smoothly, without complications, and a firm "we'll part as friends" handshake. Unfortunately, breakups are rarely a mutual decision. The "dumpee" almost always throws a curve ball in the dumper's perfect plan, he or she asks -- sometimes begs -- for a second chance.

Uncomfortable breakups are not restricted to one's personal life; they can also creep into one's professional life when an employer's response to a resignation is a counter offer. In a moment of weakness, the employee may feel extreme pressure to cave in. Should he or she stay in the current job that has become stale or does he or she move on to take advantage of a more exciting opportunity?

Though the decision whether to stay or go is a personal one, there are common pitfalls that you must be aware of before accepting an employer's counter offer. There are many factors to consider.

The moment you resign, your loyalty to the company is immediately questioned. Although your manager may say "We'll give you anything you want" in an effort to persuade you to stay, be aware that this plea may be a diversion until the company finds a replacement. Your manager will do what he or she can to protect the interest of the company. Even if you are not replaced, you may be passed up for a promotion or not assigned juicy projects because you have gained the reputation of a disloyal employee, a non-team player.

However, let's give your manager the benefit of the doubt. After all, he or she may be sincere in their quest to make things right but they may not have the authority to follow through. Therefore, don't take promises at face value; get your counter offer in writing.

How management perceives you should not be your only concern. Your colleagues may become resentful that you were given a raise or company perks because, as they see it, you blackmailed the company into making a counter offer. As far as your colleagues are concerned, they put in as much time and effort as you to promote the growth of the company, and they will resent not being recognized for their contribution the way you have been.

Resentment can develop into a feeling of professional distrust and the dynamics of your relationships with colleagues may begin to shift. For the most part, the makeup of your day is defined by your connections with co-workers. When stresses begin to mount at work, it can trickle into other areas of your life. It is important that you consider your colleague's reaction when making the final decision as to whether you should stay or go.

Resist the temptation to be roped in by and glamour of the benefits you may be presented. Take into account the core reasons why you decided to begin searching for another position. Was it because you wanted a prime parking spot? Or was it because your efforts weren't valued? Was it because you wanted extended lunches? Or was it because you want to get home at a reasonable hour? When all is said and done, are the perks that you are being offered sufficient to overcome your initial objections that motivated your search for another job to begin with?

Statistics show that employees who decide to accept a counter offer end up getting fired or quit within the year. Does that mean you shouldn't accept a counter offer? Not necessarily. What it does mean is that you should prepare for all the possible scenarios that may arise. Whether you decide to stay or make a clean break is up to you. Just be sure that your decision is an educated one.

About The Author

Career Coach Inc. is run by Linda Matias and Bryan Cadicamo. Career Coach Inc.'s objective is quite simple: to coach professionals who are in a career transition and are looking to reawaken or discover their life's passion. To learn more visit or send an email to


Misheck 30.07.2013. 08:45

Could someone help me with a sample letter of rejecting an accepted job offer? I got a job offer which i accepted prior to resignation but upon resigning and giving my current employer a one month notice as per my conditions of service with them, they have counter offered and they don't want me to leave. Can someone help me with a sample letter of how i should draft it to reject the other offer which i accepted to?


IZitall 18.01.2008. 14:32

Is it okay to ask a recruiter to give you a sign on bonus? I have been given a job (I really believe the LORD gave it to me) for a salary that is really I could only dream... I am not really thinking about a counter offer because they are already paying me about 30% over my current compensation. I was wondering if it is okay to ask the recruiter for a sign on bonus because the job doesn't really have any sign on bonus. Is this an okay thing to do?


Admin 18.01.2008. 14:32

There is no harm in asking. Employment contract signing bonus is only given on positions that requires a difficult qualifications to find. It is an incentive being given by "head hunters" to entice employed candidate to apply to their client and resign from current employment upon acceptance by their client. Employment contract signing bonus are offered before submitting your resume to them. If non is offered, chances are you wont get one. Again, there is no harm in asking but please do not demand.

Good luck



catherine v 09.08.2011. 16:55

I have applied for a hospital reimbursement analyst job? I have an offer for 40k. I have done some benchmarking and see that the US average salary is $75, while the region is $70, and specifically this town average is $60. What is the appropriate counter offer?

catherine v

Admin 09.08.2011. 16:55

Having made the decision to counter offer take some time to review the following information.

Once the initial offer has been made, take some time to consider your options and evaluate your position. Using tools like measure your experience and length of service to provide a realistic salary expectation.

When making your considerations evaluate the entire compensation package, looking at benefits including stock options, performance bonus, vacation days, pension and health insurance.

Remember that you are in the strong position as the candidate of choice and you are in a position to lever this position in your favour. Employers will generally allow a decent interval in which you may review the job offer and will anticipate the counter offer. If you find yourself under pressure you are being given a strong insight into the way this business/organization operates and you may ultimately decide that you don?t feel that this is the company for you.

Your greatest tool is effective research. Gather the relevant information and have your facts ready, anticipate questions and be armed with the salary range for the specific job you are seeking. Take length of service and experience into account in addition to the compensation and benefits on offer and be well versed in the industry standards.

Effective communication is a key factor in this endeavour, be positive and confident and assume a knowledgeable exterior.

You must request a higher salary, which will allow you the scope to negotiate down gaining the salary you initially desired. Demonstrate your strengths and experience and the contribution that you will make once hired, communicate that the salary paid out will be repaid through increased productivity or sales.

Effective sales of your abilities and experience throughout this process are a very persuasive tool in a successful negotiation. Be enthusiastic and positive and show continued interest in the position and your place in the company.

Aggression or a resigned negative attitude will damage your image severely and will guarantee failure in this difficult situation. Never make demands or be confrontational, the employer will be left with no alternative but to believe you are showing aspects of your true character.

Expect several different reactions from the employer to your counter proposal, anything from acceptance to surprise to a refusal to consider your proposal.

If you have already decided not to accept the offer or the follow up offer, discontinue the negotiations and avoid further time wasting which will damage your reputation. Remember that the business world is tight knit and contacts are far reaching. Avoid doing any harm to your reputation.

Once you have reached a satisfactory conclusion, ask for the agreement in writing. You will no longer be in a position to negotiate further and will have a clear and documented understanding of the terms set out.


Andrea G 29.09.2007. 16:08

How do you suggest I approach my boss to resign from my long term (12yrs) job? A letter alone which I know I have to give to make things official, will not be the way I would want to do it. I need to have a sit down which may be quite emotional as I have been like part of a family in this small company,-what to say?? I am leaving to broaden my horizons in a similar field. I certainly do'nt want to burn bridges with my work history, in other words I would like to leave with their blessings.

Andrea G

Admin 29.09.2007. 16:08

First off. Do not feel guilty or that you are doing anything wrong. It sounds like you have been a good employee. If you have already accepted the other offer, then on the very next work day just tell your manager you need to speak to him. Then sit down and say you have decided to move on to another position. I think it is best to actually just read the letter you have written.
Kind of like when people break up they may push you to say what was wrong. Don't fall into that trap, stick to your simple message....everything was fine here, it was a difficult decision, I just need to make a career change. Real simple.
Also you most likely do not want to say where you are going to work. You can say the new company asked you not to say anything until you start, that is thier HR policy. Say you will call them once you get settled in at the new place. Or at the very least do not provide too many details.
Again like the break-up, the other person wants to know about the new girlfriend/boyfriend and that is not the issue.

Be prepared for ANY type of response. They may be positive, negative, or not really care. You may be surprised.
They may counter offer, we will do this or that, you might be promoted in a few months, etc. Again that is not the issue, and for anyone else reading, 99% of the time that never happens, as when someone stays it is right back to the old ways, litterally the next week, and now the company looks at you as disloyal and will actually feel justifed not supporting your that person is probably going to leave anyway.
Like you said, be very dry, professional and keep it simple. If some other person or your boss' boss asks anything say the same exact thing. Everything was good, my manger did a great job, it was a difficult decision, etc.


Jenny Dreadful 07.07.2008. 15:06

I verbally accepted a new job but now plan to stay at my current company. How should I tell recruitment guy? I accepted the new job 3 weeks ago. My notice period is 3 months. Since resigning at my current job, lots of things have changed, and they are now able to offer me all the things that I was leaving for, including salary. I have not signed a contract at the new place and have decided to stay at my current company. I must tell the recruitment agency but I am so scared and nervous about it! What should I say? Can I do it by email?

Jenny Dreadful

Admin 07.07.2008. 15:06

The truth - just say you got a counter-offer by your current employer and have decided to stay. They won't be very happy with you, but I wouldn't bother lying. And give them a call - emailing is such a cop out and looks unimpersonal.

It happens all the time, so don't feel too bad by it.


masonwomack 26.11.2009. 15:32

How can I stop my bosses from being mad at me for quitting my job? I quit my job yesterday to move on to something bigger and better, but the heads of the company are all very disappointed and continue to tell me so and try to convince me that the reasons for my decision are invalid.

What is the best thing(s) to say and the best position to take to avoid them being mad at me and to make them understand that the decision has already been made and does not reflect on them personally?


Admin 26.11.2009. 15:32

I've been in the same position from both sides. I left a job where I was in a very key position (it took them a year to find a person with 75% of my skill set) and I was a manager losing a very valuable team member.

They are disappointed because of the work they will have to find and train a replacement and lose an amount of knowledge when you walk out the door.

Did they make a counter offer or are they just trying to talk you out of leaving? A counter offer is where they offer you something of value in order to keep you at the company. If you quit for a better opportunity (more money better hours, more hours, increased responsibility, ...) then they should be trying to give you the things that you find desirable about the new offer.

You're in an uncomfortable position. The facts are that you resigned to go on to something bigger and better. Trying to talk you out of leaving is not the same as making it worth you while to stay.

The best position would be to thank them for all you've learned there, assure them that this is purely a business decision and ask about a counter offer.

"I really appreciate what I've learned here. My decision is purely a professional one. No reflection on you, in fact my experiences here probably helped me get this new offer. The new job offers me X, Y and Z (or whatever you find bigger and better); I would be open to discussing a counter offer if you'd like to make one."

You could get a counter offer or they could see that there is no reason for you to stay at a job that is clearly no match for the job you were offered.

Good luck with your new job.


Kristy H 04.12.2006. 03:59

How do I tell my boss that I'm looking for another job? I recently took a job and I don't like it. My boss made me believe it would be much different than it really is. I've been applying for other jobs. How do I tell her I need time off for an interview?

Kristy H

Admin 04.12.2006. 03:59

You never tell your current employer you are looking for a new job. You tell them you have a new job when you land it, and that you are leaving.

The reason you don't do this is because you give your employer the opportunity to dump you and find somebody else. Then what if the new job prospect falls through? You get screwed doubly. You are under no obligation to tell your current employer about your job hunting. Don't do it.

When you resign your position, if your current employer values you highly enough, they may counter-offer in an effort to keep you. Personally, I never accept a counter-offer. The reason is, no matter what they say, next time a layoff round comes up, guess what? You're at the top of the list.


its 15.11.2012. 19:12

How and why were the Cold War geographic boundaries drawn? How and why were the Cold War geographic boundaries drawn? i need this to be dumbed down in just one to two sentences please.


Admin 15.11.2012. 19:12

The Cold War is the post-World War II period, from 1945 to 1991, which culminates with the fall of the Soviet Union. It is called the ?Cold War? because instead of military confrontation, it was an ideological war of influence, between the capitalist bloc, led by United States, and the communist bloc, led by the Soviet Union ?today?s Russia (formally the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which existed from 1922 to 1991, a federation of 15 republics dominated by Russia). Sometimes, during this period, the whole world felt the tension of an approaching third world war where nuclear weapons would be used. A consequence of this genuine anxiety was the arms race, where the superpowers competed in the development of more powerful weapons of mass destruction. The more destructive capacity a country had the more political influence it would gain. Some outstanding events are remembered: the witch hunt of McCarthyism (1950-1956), when Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin accused thousands of Americans of being Communists and summoned them for hearings at the House Un-American Activities Committee in Congress; the wrath of Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev at the United Nations in 1960, when he yanked off his shoe and thumped on his desk over a debate on colonialism; the Cuban missile crisis in 1963, the policy of Détente in 1971, Perestroika in the 1980?s, and the fall of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification in 1990.
As the Cold war chill spread, US President Harry Truman initiated the ?Truman Doctrine? and offered military and economic aid to countries threatened by a Communist takeover. The idea was to ?contain? the spread of communism. A key part of the Truman Doctrine was the ?Marshall Plan?, which gave massive economic aid to European nations to rebuild their economies destroyed by the war. In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was set up. NATO was a military alliance of US, Canada and Western Europe against the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. The Soviets created the Warsaw Pact as a mutual defense treaty between eight communist states and it was a counter-alliance to NATO. Thousands of soldiers representing the two ideologies backed by the superpowers faced each other along a line dividing East and West.
In 1985, a new leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, was appointed head of state of the Soviet Union. He shared the views of the reformers who recognized the fundamental economic problems facing the Soviet Union. In 1985 he embarked on a three-pronged policy: perestroika (restructuring), glasnost (openness) and military disarmament. Under perestroika, planning was decentralized, allowing market forces to work. Agriculture and land was put in the hands of families and cooperatives rather than large state farms. The results were a mixed economy featuring a blend of socialist planning and capitalist free market. At the same time, arms reduction talks were initiated with United States. Both sides agreed to limit nuclear weapons. To get political backing for his reforms, Gorbachev introduced glasnost. Censorship was curtailed, encouraging free discussion of everything from culture to politics. Partial democratization of the Communist Party and the Soviet political system followed. In the spring of 1989, the first open elections since 1917 were held, resulting in the defeat of numerous communist candidates. In 1990, after Gorbachev, President Boris Yeltsin resigned from the Communist Party and declared Russia an independent republic. In 1991, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia and other former Soviet republics did the same. The Cold War ended.


ashish b 12.04.2007. 09:31

effects of negotiating with current employer in long run? when i resigned , my employer increased my salary and didn't allow me to leave the organisation. Is negotaiating with employer for salary increase is ethical and does it help the employee in long run?

ashish b

Admin 12.04.2007. 09:31

This is the oldest trick in the book.

You just gave your employer time to find your replacement. Then they will let you go.

Accepting a counter-offer at time of resignation is rarely a good idea. I have seen this time and time again.

Even if they don't let you go, you can bet that you won't be receiving future raises as they feel they have already given it to you.

I equate this situation to a toddler throwing a tantrum. The parent may give in, but gets angry.

Your boss gave in to you, but is probably mad at you now.

Good luck.


tygger 21.03.2007. 12:05

How To Properly Give 2 Weeks Notice???? This isn't my first time, but I ALWAYS have a hard time telling my current employer that I'm leaving to pursue other opportunities. I usually tell my boss verbally first, then provide a written statement.

My problem is that I feel bad and too "dedicated." I'm also not interested in a counter-offer.

What's the best way to provide notification and what should I say so that I won't offend or leave on bad terms???

Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated!


Admin 21.03.2007. 12:05

Short, to the point, and in person is the best way to go. I changed jobs 5 months ago. I told my direct supervisor in person I was resigning, and I had a letter in hand as well. The letter simply stated I was resigning, and thank you for the opportunity to work for the firm.

All reasons for leaving and any grievances can be aired in the exit interview. Even then, be careful of burning bridges, and keep minor complaints to yourself.


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