Never Accept a Counteroffer

Counteroffers are an interesting animal.  Getting a counteroffer is a great thing.  It means that you’re a competent employee.  It means that your current employee greatly values your services.

But at the end of the day, you should never accept one.


Well let’s take a hypothetical situation.  John Doe is currently 50K a year at company X, and accepts a job offer at company Y for 60K.  John Doe goes to his current manager and puts in his two weeks notice.  His manager promptly informs him that he can’t afford to lose him, and comes back later that day with a signed offer letter bumping his pay to 65K.

On the surface, it seems like a very attractive offer:

  • John’s pay will now be greater than even his new offer at Company Y
  • John does not need to relocate, or incur any other expenses related to changing jobs
  • John is comfortable in his existing role and knows he can do his job well, providing some measure of job security
  • John will continue to be able to interact with his existing coworkers (let’s assume he actually likes his coworkers)

Now, let’s assume that John actually likes his current job very much.  The only reason he was even considering leaving was the fact that he felt he was underpaid.  John still should not accept the counteroffer.  Keep in mind that from the employer’s perspective, John has now demonstrated the following:

  • That you are not a “loyal” employee
  • That you will likely try to leave again in the future if you receive a compelling offer

Unsurprisingly, this leads to the following consequences:

  • You will be passed up for promotions, because they don’t want their management jumping ship regularly
  • You will be first on the list if there is a downturn and the company is forced to initiate layoffs
  • Your coworkers may or may not lose respect for you

Ultimately, the advantages of accepting a counteroffer are utterly transient and meaningless.  However, the consequences may follow you forever.  Do the smart thing.

Never accept a counteroffer.


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