Deciding to move on from your current role can often be a stressful process. Perhaps there was a particular catalyst or perhaps you feel your role had simply run its course; whatever your reason for wanting to move on, handling your resignation in a manner that won’t burn bridges, is essential. This of course includes handling the inevitable counter-offer.
Handling this challenge starts before you even resign. Sit down and remind yourself of why you went to market in the first place. Perhaps it was the opportunity to push yourself out of your comfort zone, perhaps it was taking on more leadership and managerial responsibility. Either way, it’s important to detach yourself from the emotion of the situation and remain objective, recalling the ‘why’ you decided to change your career path.
A resignation is undoubtably an awkward situation. Quite often you will be emotionally attached to the company and your boss, so telling them you’re deserting them for pastures new is no easy task. Keeping your resignation letter brief and clear and avoiding deep detail around your ‘why’s and wherefores’ will make this easier.
Accepting the counter offer will be easy; easier than resigning and easier than taking on the hard earned, new challenge that lays ahead. But ask yourself this, why weren’t the opportunities / benefits / increased salary made available before you made your intentions clear? Perhaps your employer will plead ignorance and say they didn’t know, but it’s perhaps more telling that they didn’t actually ever ask.
Even if you were to accept the increased responsibility or package, at what cost? I have seen counter offers that on the face of things were generous, however any increase in salary for the next two years was frozen and they had simply been given an advance of sorts. Consider the team dynamics going forward; how will your manager feel, knowing that you were prepared to leave their team? Your loyalty could be drawn into question and may affect your progression here on in, especially if it is felt that you had held a metaphorical gun to your boss’ head.
As with everything in life, there are exceptions to the rule. However you must stay true to yourself and take a longer-term perspective when it comes to your career. Accepting a counter-offer will often simply serve to slow your progression down.
Take a step back, avoid an emotive response and be true to yourself, it’s your career, no-one else’s.