You decide to leave your company, and with your resignation letter in hand you tell your boss you are done and they respond in an uncharacteristic way – she/he asks you to stay and offers you a ton of money to do so.
It’s enticing, it’s flattering, and it will definitely give you a moment to pause and make the right decision.
At eQ, we like to guide people to what they should do versus giving them a right/wrong answer. In this case, I’m comfortable telling you that there is a RIGHT and a WRONG here. I’ve actually never seen an acceptance of a counteroffer play out long-term where it wasn’t pretty uncomfortable for the employee or the boss.
So back to the right decision: you tell your boss “no thank you.”
Yes, it’s difficult, it seems like you are leaving money on the table, and that you are potentially burning a bridge, but it’s the RIGHT decision and here are 3 reasons why:
1. If your boss thought you were worth more money, she would’ve paid you more before you decided to quit.
2. She’s not giving you a counter offer because she wants you on her team. In fact, she doesn’t (look at bullet 3) and is just doing her best to minimize the disruption that will occur if you leave.
3. You will have a target on your back…forever. Telling your boss that you aren’t “in it” anymore by quitting will never be forgotten. She will give you a counteroffer, and will immediately begin trying to replace you. Worse yet, she will tell the rest of the leadership team, and you will have a tribe of enemies all looking to replace you.
Lastly, your hearts not in it, or your heart is in to something else (your new opportunity). If you really wanted more responsibilities, you would’ve asked for them. If you thought there was a way to make it work you wouldn’t have been looking.
You have to be prepared to really search deep and be honest with yourself. Going along the path of least resistance is definitely easier, and what we gravitate to as humans. One of the exercises we recommend at eQ is the 25 Reasons Why. If you are stuck, take an hour and write down the 25 Reasons Why you are excited about your new opportunity. This can help ground you to what matters most to you, and get you focused again.
So next time you are faced with a counter offer, politely decline. Instead of spending emotional energy on what should be in your past, put all of your time, energy, and effort towards your next opportunity and future. You deserve it.
Misti Aaronson is the Executive Vice President and a partner at entreQuest. She utilizes her talents and expertise from working with countless organizations to help businesses grow through expert talent acquisition, growth methodology and development of their teams.