Accepting a Counter-offer; A Quora Question

Take This Job and Shove It
Take This Job and Shove It

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

I’ve had a long post-Navy career at this point, and moved around a lot in my jobs. Within the different companies I’ve worked for I’ve had the great fortune of moving around doing different things, learning new skills, and working with different people. Some of the things I’ve done and people I’ve worked for were good. Other things and other people – not good.

I’ve also made some bad decisions throughout my career, mostly on basis that my word was the same as my signature, and other people’s word was the same as their signature. So when I had a chance to answer a Quora question ” Did you accept counter offer from your current employer when you put in two weeks, how did it turn out?” I went with my most infuriating job-related incident of trusting someone to keep their word.

A Quora Answer

Here is my answer to the Quora question: “Did you accept counter offer from your current employer when you put in two weeks, how did it turn out?

I did accept a “counter-offer” once. Turned out I should not have accepted and moved on.

I was hired in at a 12% pay cut from my previous job and only accepted because:

1 – I was out of work and needed a job.
2 – It was a big company with good reputation.
3 – The job offered was beneath my capabilities and I realized the position was not worth my previous salary.
4 – I made the assumption that once I showed what I could do, my salary would be readjusted.

Now, two years later, my salary adjustment didn’t happen. Worse, I discovered that I had been hired in at a salary category that cut my company’s normal education benefits by half. Which put me at disadvantage for training that I wanted/needed to advance my career. On top of all this, I had moved from my original role into a position that was supposed to be a team lead role.

However, our client knew one of the other people on my team (junior to me in experience) from a previous job, and de facto treated him as the team lead. I was completely marginalized as team leader and ignored by both the client and de facto team member. I was functionally cut out of my team position.

When I attempted to discuss this with the individual, and then our senior leadership, I was ignored.

Six months later with no positive change, I had enough. I started looking for a new job. After a several months search, I was offered what sounded like a dream job, including pay and benefits that restored what I had prior to my current job. I accepted, but there was one complication.

I had already scheduled a vacation trip abroad, and my offer came three days before vacation started. The company wanted me to start the day I returned from vacation, two weeks from their offer letter. This meant effectively giving my company three days notice (and the middle finger), which I actually didn’t mind doing. All things considered.

My resignation letter and last date sent shock waves rippling though my office. My immediate supervisor told me I was not allowed to take vacation during my two weeks notice, to which I replied “try to stop me.”

Two days after submitting my resignation our senior manager asked me to meet with him. This was the first time he’d met with me since hiring me two-and-a-half years earlier. He was rather brusque in this meeting. He never asked me why I was leaving so abruptly, or what I was dissatisfied about. He simply told me if I rescinded my resignation, he would match what the other company was offering and restore my educational benefits to normal company levels. He also told me that his supervisor, our local director, would be calling me in about one hour to talk with me as well.

One hour later the director did call me, and we had a brief chat. I told him my frustrations, and the director promised that if I rescinded my resignation, he’d resolve my frustrations. He explained I was a valued member of their team, and he would like me to stay.

So I rescinded my resignation, told the company who made the offer I had reconsidered, then went on vacation. While I was on vacation, my team member who had taken the role of team lead resigned. By default, I was reassigned as the new team lead upon return.

After I returned, the senior manager asked to meet with me. He talked about the team member who had resigned, probing me on what our issues were. I side-stepped answering as I did not care to get into a “personality issues” discussion. Then the senior manager said “well, I guess we’ll have to get your educational benefits increased.” Nothing about a pay raise.

Six months later, when our normal pay raises kicked in, I still did not see the promised pay raise. My educational benefits had not been increased, and every time I asked my supervisor he would just walk around in circles throwing up his hands saying “I don’t know how to do that. It’s hard.” Several months later company policy changed and my educational benefits were increased as part of the company-wide change. But I never saw the pay raise I was promised.

About two years later I was offered a better job elsewhere, and moved on.

If I was ever in this position again, I would not accept a counter-offer. As one of the other people responding to this question replied; I would tell my supervisor that if they could match the other offer now, they could have done that months ago.

Quora Answer: Did you accept counter offer from your current employer when you put in two weeks, how did it turn out?

Follow-Up Commentary

I suspect an astute reader would ask “Why did I stick around two years after being screwed over like this?” My answer is that job hunting is exhausting, and my previous push to find a new job literally wore me out. Worse, I had burned the company that made me an offer, which hurt my credibility. I didn’t care to repeat that with another company.

I can also say that the work I was doing afterwards was enjoyable, even though I was still not getting the pay I should have. Based upon my research in the job-reference website I was pretty sure I was in the bottom quartile for employees with this company, based upon my skill level and title within the company. I did use my educational benefits to gain two certifications I really wanted, and then started my graduate program using the company’s money.

Another factor was that, based upon my intensive job search, I realized there were very few jobs available that I really wanted to do. Very few jobs were substantially different than what I was already doing. So, I stayed. But, the minute I had a chance to jump into a better position as a Government employee I took it.

There was something very satisfying in handing in my resignation letter – a second time – knowing that this time I was really gone.

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