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I accepted a counter-offer & now I'm not sure...

I accepted a counter-offer & now I'm not sure...

over 2 years ago by Alan Corcoran

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If you’re reading this then we are guessing after some careful consideration, you realised you were not happy in your current role, went through the whole process of applying for and then accepting an opportunity elsewhere, made the decision to leave but then accepted a counter-offer when your current employer suddenly realised your value.

Following a period of dedicated job searching, building your online brand, and submitting tailored applications, you were asked to interview for an exciting new opportunity. After a series of meetings with the hiring manager and, much to your delight you were offered the job! Then, after all of that effort, your current employer threw you a curve ball and made you a counteroffer, one which you found hard to turn down and subsequently accepted.

Whilst you were flattered at the time, the initial excitement soon wore off - only to be replaced with a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, one which said that you have perhaps, made a huge mistake.

Don’t panic. Whether you made the wrong decision or not you will bounce back from this and get your career back on track. In fact, our research found that when employees received a counteroffer, 48% decided to leave anyway and 22% left within a year. So, you are not alone. However, before you make any sudden moves, check below for signs that this counteroffer was a mistake:

1. Nothing has really changed

What were your reasons for leaving in the first place?

  • Maybe you felt like you didn’t have a great work-life balance and the commitment you were putting into your job was going unnoticed. Do you feel these issues have been rectified, or is everything the same as it was before?
  • Often, counter offers include better financial perks; a higher salary, increased incentives & bonus structures but they don’t always acknowledge the deeper reasons behind your motivation for looking for another role, perhaps; a lack of workplace fulfilment, a passion for what the company does, the opportunity for personal growth, and a sense of purpose or healthy work life balance. These are the things that financial benefits simply can’t make up for.

2. Things are actually worse than before

  • If you are being truthful with yourself, is your current workplace the same or worse than it was before? Maybe you are left wondering why your employer didn’t try harder to keep you until you handed in your notice. Surely, they could see you were unhappy, and if they couldn’t, what does that say to you?
  • Perhaps your employer is demanding more from you because of your new salary package, even though, in your eyes, the counteroffer is simply a fair reflection of the job you have been doing for months, or even years.

3. Your inner voice is screaming out to you

  • Contrary to the above, perhaps you have all the rewards and responsibilities that you were hoping for because of accepting the counteroffer. But still, something just doesn’t feel right.
  • Although you can’t consciously pinpoint what is wrong, certain parts of your job may be bringing you down, whether it’s the subtle office politics at play or the lack of innovative and inspirational leaders. Whatever it is, your inner voice is telling you to leave. If this is the case, we would advise you listen to it.

What to do next

Now it is time to be completely honest with yourself about what you do want from your career. Start by writing down what you are looking for beyond the material perks. Perhaps it’s a better workplace culture & work life balance, a more motivating manager or better progression opportunities. Think about what your current employer is lacking, and how your next employer will need to be different.

Now you know what you need to feel fulfilled in your career. Assess whether the first offer which you turned down could really tick these boxes. If it did, then swallow your pride and arrange a meeting with your recruiter to explain the situation. You never know, the previous offer may still be on the table. If not, see if your recruiter can put you forward for any similar roles that they have available.

Whatever you do, make sure you let your recruiter know you are job searching again, but that this time you have a better understanding of what you do and don’t want from your next role and a greater confidence in your worth. They are there to help you and will have seen this situation before. Relay your newfound criteria to them and use this yourself as you continue to search for roles.

Don’t be too hard on yourself about your decision to take that counteroffer. After all, you gave your current employer a second chance to meet your career needs and, for whatever reason, these needs have not been met. At least now you have solidified in your mind what it is you truly want from your next move. When you look at it from this perspective, accepting that counteroffer was less of a mistake and more of a learning curve, one which will help guarantee that your next step is a successful one.