1. Your feelings

Why did you consider changing companies in the first place? It’s likely that it was because your present employers can no longer offer you the growth potential to match your experience. That said, your current workplace has helped you to progress professionally and as a result, you may feel uncomfortable tendering your resignation. You will be leaving colleagues and in some cases, friends and they too have been a contributing factor in advancing your career. All or some of what you’ve just read may make you feel uneasy, however…

2. What can you expect when you hand in your letter of resignation?

Hopefully, your company as a whole will be sorry to lose you. After all, you have contributed to sales and profit and you’re probably, right this minute, involved in a project that requires your skill sets. If you can try and put yourself in your boss’s position and ask ‘what would you do’?

3. The Counter Offer’

It’s natural to resist change and disruption and your employer will be no exception. He’ll want to keep you and will attempt to do so with a counter offer. To him, your acceptance of a new position elsewhere is a mistake on your part and will try some or all of the following tactics to keep you –

  • “This is confidential, and I shouldn’t really be telling you this but we were looking at promoting you in the next six months”
  • “We will match your new offer and put it into effect next pay day. I had meant to review it anyway”
  • Don’t make a final decision now. Have a think about it and we’ll sit down next week and discuss it”

4. Implications of the counter offer

It is of course flattering to discover that your employers are having concerns that you’re leaving and you must try hard not to let your emotions obscure the real reasons behind your decision to leave. It’s natural to be apprehensive about leaving and to let that final, nagging doubt about doing the right thing grow out of all logical proportion, the more your boss tries to convince you to stay.

5. Questions to ask yourself

  • “I made the decision to leave because the new position offered me the best environment to fulfil my career needs. If I stay, will the situation here really improve just because I said I was leaving?”
  • “If I stay, will my loyalty be questioned amongst my peers and will it affect my chances of promotion once the dust has settled?”
  • This rise makes me expensive for the job I’m in. How will that affect any future rises?”
  • I got this counter offer because I resigned – will I have to go though this process again the next time I think I’m ready for a salary bump or promotion?”

6. The professional attitude

A boss – any boss – with professionalism as his key strength will make a career decision objectively. It will – or should – be free of the emotional pressures one is likely to feel when being urged to reconsider. You will get advice from well-meaning colleagues, friends and family but it’s important to depend primarily on your own judgement because you re the only one who can fully comprehend the implications.

Remember – the counter offer was made purely as a belated recognition of the contribution you have made to your company. If it had come unprompted, it would have been a lot more flattering but the fact remains, it didn’t.

Move ahead with the goal of making yourself as valuable to your new employer as you now know you were to your old one.

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