Termination / Quitting and Counter Offers

One word on counter offers: NO!

Think about it, when was the last time you heard an employer say "Smith has stayed with us for 10 years despite offers from ACME (I grew up watching Bugs Bunny (r))..." NOT! The closest things I've ever heard was "Jones used to work for ACME, our competition in our anvil line, but came to us 6 years ago..." or "We hired John as a consultant, then he decided to become a full time employee...".

Despite the fact that the company may have actively recruited the particular employee, the company does not see it that way. Instead the company may feel that they just gave that individual an alternative, so that person came to the company.

So how does that mentality fit in with the counter offer?

Think. You are looking to leave - why? Is it because you think you've found a better offer elsewhere? Or is it because you can not tolerate your current conditions? In either case your employer sees you as wanting to leave. You've just given your boss your two week notice, and the first thing out of your boss's mouth is "We will beat the offer by 20%" You start thinking "Cool - the other employer just gave me a 10% increase, so that works out to a 32% raise!! Wow... I did not know I was that valuable..."

Then reality slowly works its way into the picture when you start to think
Many headhunters have told me that the employer does not suddenly start caring about you at this moment, but is really caring more about their company or department. The manager, making the counter offer, suddenly sees you as an important piece of the machine that makes the company or department complete.

Note the key word in the last sentence - piece - that's all that you are... Important - of course, otherwise the counter offer would not have been made. Now let's see how that how important that piece is to the machine.

I'll parallel the company to my car - a machine with many pieces - some important, some not important. Your position is like one of the pieces and you are like the "current" part. I do not smoke, so I when I bought a radar detector that went into my cigarette lighter, I threw out my cigarette lighter. Bad analogy, it's more like being laid off, transferred or fired. in this case the company eliminated the position, and you just happen to the one affected. My tape player died, but I was happy enough with the radio for the time. I will eventually replace the radio with a stereo when I have the time and money. The car still gets me from home to work and where ever else without the tape player, and I get enough radio stations such that I really do not care if I have a tape player. If your employer feels that the company can get along without someone in your position, even for a while, forget about any counter offer.

Now for about the counter offer analogy. My cooling system has given me grief on many occasions. Almost everyone (remember the 10 people I mentioned - I can name 1 for this analogy) knows that the car will not function for more than a few minutes unless the cooling system is working. One time a hose sprung a leak and I was a few miles from the nearest service station. So what does any real man do in such a situation? Duct tape! I waited for the car to cool and I put duct tape over the leak to fix that piece, the leaky hose. Now think
So will an employer want to do the same? Not really. At the nearest service station I replaced the duct-taped hose. Thus either see yourself as the leaky hose or receive such unexpectedly!

Competitive Offers

Now to really complicate things. Getting offers from more than one company. In my opinion the best thing to do is to try get all companies, with out any of them knowing such, to give you the same deadline. Evaluate each offer separately, analyzing the benefits for you and responsibilities that will be upon you. Do not compare the offers to each other, stay focused on your goals. When they start bidding against each other it may be a real ego booster, but ask yourself "Why didn't they offer that to me in the first place?" Taking such an offer may lead to trouble down the road. You may become the line item that busts the department's budget. Despite the fact that your boss spent $2,500 on computer with a $1,500 monitor and another $1,000 on support contract to play solitaire, your salary will be the item that went over budget.

Bottom line - some of the people on the unemployment line are former employees who accepted counter offers. Weather staying on at a company because their boss
they all  ended up in the same place. Unless you have some money in the bank and want an unexpected vacation, stay on course and do not become swayed by counter offers.