When the employer you are leaving makes a counter-offer

Jeanine “JT” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is the founder of The Innovators’ Lab and the author of an HR novel, “The Weary Optimist”.

Dear JT & Dale: I have a new job offer in hand with generous compensation. My current employer would like to make me a counter offer. Do I have to participate and share the compensation offered to me? Or should I say it’s non-negotiable and I’m moving to a new organization? —Trina

JT: I’m so glad you asked this question! First, know that several studies show that if you negotiate with your current employer to stay, they are likely to let you go within 18 months. Now that they know you wanted to leave and can only keep you by increasing your salary, they feel held hostage. So that usually leads to your eventual departure. My advice is to say that you are honored that they want to counter, but that you really feel that the new opportunity will help you grow and, if so, may better prepare you to one day return to your current employer with new skills. It’s the smartest way to leave on good terms if you don’t like the new place. It is time to move on.

VALLEY: Not so fast. I understand the dangers of staying and therefore of sowing the seed of future resentment, but what if you could deny that? The seed of resentment is planted because managers tend to think of their employees as a team or a family, and knowing that you are sneaking up behind their backs, the search for a new team/family becomes a nagging doubt about your loyalty. That’s why you might say something to your managers like, “I love working with you and I didn’t think I was leaving, but this offer came to me and it’s a great offer. So I don’t know what to do. I like the team, but it seems like a big break. Your management may respond by saying, “We’ve got a great promotion planned for you, and we’d like you to stay and take it.” Then you have the choice between two offers. Be open, but ask yourself this question: where will you be in two years in each company? Follow the energy.

Dear JT & Dale: I am looking for advice on moving into a new role (product marketing) after working in project management (customer implementation) for four years. I know I have the experience and product knowledge the marketing role needs, but I feel like the company won’t “take the risk” even if they know what type of employee I am . Is it me or is it common for companies? —Ernst

JT: Some companies “tidy up” your skills and have a hard time imagining you in a new role. My advice is to take the job description for marketing and list all the job requirements. Then summarize your transferable skills and experience for each task. At the end, review the requirements you are missing and look for opportunities to gain experience, i.e. ask to work on a team project, take a course, etc. Then go to management, explain that your goal is to move into marketing, and that you’ve mapped your skills for the position. Ask them what else they would need to see for you to make the switch. I find that by creating a visual document that proves you can do the job, it makes it easier for them to see the potential. Also, it will allow you to see if they would ever consider you for the role. If they don’t, maybe it’s time to start looking at other opportunities.

VALLEY: It could work. Putting everything in writing lets management know you’re serious, but here’s the thing: you’re actually telling your current bosses you’re serious about leaving them. Don’t forget that it must be a “pull” and not a “push”: you must be solicited by the marketing managers. So focus on them, not HR or whoever you’re currently waiting to save you from your current job. However, start preparing for the possibility that you may have to change companies to make the move.

Jeanine “JT” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is the founder of The Innovators’ Lab and the author of “The Weary Optimist”. Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can email questions, or write to them c/o King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2022 by King Features Syndicate Inc.