You ironed your outfit, polished your resume and went on what probably feels like a million job interviews. At last, you received an offer and are ready to say goodbye to your current job. But wait. Your boss offers you a substantial raise! How should you respond? Do you accept your current company's offer or simply decline and move on? The choices you make have consequences so carefully think through your options and each possible ramification.
Why did you launch your job search to begin with?
Job hunting is difficult. No one begins a job search without a powerful motive to leave their current one. Before accepting the counter offer, take a hard look at the reasons that led you to search for a new job. Was it the money, or was it the fact that being underpaid made you feel undervalued? Was it a lack of career growth that resulted in you feeling stuck? Getting to the bottom of this question will help you decide if accepting the counter offer will solve or simply mask the real problem.
Will the counter offer solve the problem?
If the Benjamins were the only reason you began job hunting, then the counter offer would solve that. However, your resignation may have set into motion more subtle problems affecting your relationship with your current manager. Even if your intentions were pure, your employer may feel played. He or she may feel blindsided by your near-quit, and uncertain about whether it will happen again. Potentially, the transaction may lead to broken bonds with your boss which may make the workplace uncomfortable until you earn their trust again.
Additionally, if you are unsure if compensation was the only reason you were unsatisfied with your current position, a raise may not make much difference. If you have been feeling overworked and if your life outside of work has been suffering from that...a raise really won't solve much. If you feel burned out in your current role and there are no more opportunities for advancement or growth...a raise also may not provide you with enough incentive to be happy either.
What to do?
Think about your options through a risk-benefit analysis. A new job is always a risk. No matter how carefully you gathered information about the business, analyzed the opportunity, and researched the culture and the company, there's still an element of the unknown in accepting a new job offer. Remaining at your current job also has it's negatives, since you were motivated to look elsewhere anyway. Depending on that motivation, a frank conversation with your current employer about why you began your job search and what the work environment will be like going forward may be enough reset and restart the relationship on the right footing. If you feel like you have outgrown your current role or if the money isn't a good enough reason to stay, maybe a new job is worth the risk.
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