Counter Offers

There are a variety of good and true reasons why counter offers are considered the “kiss of death” in any business.

If you are a reasonably successful employee, and you advise your employer that you are resigning, they are faced with two conflicting emotions (and these are universal among most companies):


  • They are mad at you for being ungrateful for all they think they have done for you.
  • Someone is now facing the unenviable task of replacing you.
  • Someone has a quota to meet and you have just made that accomplishment more difficult.
  • They feel blindsided by your leaving.

Also, employers feel a strong sense of self-preservation, that is, to do whatever is necessary to keep you around and minimize their pain and inconvenience.


If your current employer can somehow convince you to stay, they have postponed the immediate damage and are now in the driver’s seat. By paying you a few thousand dollars more, your employer can begin the steps of replacing you on THEIR timetable and when it is less inconvenient to them.

Here’s what is known in this area:

  1. Counter offers are rarely made in good faith. If you are suddenly worth $X more today, why were you not worth it a few months ago.
  2. You are a marked person (not loyal) for having quit one time.
  3. Your future growth is limited unless you prove yourself all over again.
  4. Your original reasons for wanting to leave are most likely still there.
  5. You will probably be back looking within 6 months.

Here is our advice. Before you begin the search for a new job, make a list of the things that you want to see changed and share them with your current company. If they can address them, great! If not, you know it is time to move on.

And when you subsequently do resign, it will not be a complete surprise to your employer. The entire process can be less confrontational. And you will not be confused by a counter-offer since your employer has already denied your earlier requests in this area.