Should I stay or should I go?

Everyone wants a job and now you have two, but rather than feel delighted, you’re confused. Welcome to the world of the counter-offer, where you’re so clever that you’ve landed a new job and rallied your existing employer to match or even exceed what’s on the table.

While arguments about the career enhancing or limiting virtues of the counter-offer abound, you can simplify the debate into three main areas – comfort, confidence and common sense.


How good are you at coping with change? Blame it on star signs or nationality or where you went to school, but some people love change and others hate it. Moving jobs can be daunting, especially if you’re leaving a role you like, so having put yourself through the stress of finding a new one, it can be a huge relief to find that things don’t have to change after all.

Companies work hard to keep their best people, so a counter-offer can make you feel valued and forget all the reasons you wanted to leave in the first place. It couldn’t be that this new package is prompted by your manager’s reputation being at stake or that it will cost a lot to replace you, could it?

In reality it’s never black and white and that’s why sticking with the short term gain of your old company is so appealing. There may well be a world of opportunities ahead, but you’re taking a risk by moving to the new company in much the same way as they are gambling on you being the best person for their job.

Try to take a step back and think about how you might feel six months on from your decision to stay. If it’s disappointment, boredom or uncertainty, make the leap.


You’ve proved you can secure another job and that’s a real confidence boost, especially if you’ve been doing the same thing for a while or have become increasingly frustrated with your post. Now your old company are fighting to have you back, which continues to ramp up that self esteem and since you already know them and they now seem to value your more, why wouldn’t you rush back and unpack your desk?

Confidence is often a result of being in control. It’s being prepared and in charge of your own destiny. You might think that going back to your old company is a choice, but often employees are manipulated into staying by guilt or fear, because it’s easier for current employers to throw money at you than hire someone from scratch.

Getting to this point has eroded trust on both sides and it will be hard to continue feeling confident when others start resenting your new position or package and taking you for granted again.

On the flip side, the new company have shown faith in your abilities. Their trust is founded on your interview performance and you’re starting out with a clean slate. You can either bask in the temporary glow of the old job or use your new found confidence as a catalyst for doing great things in your new position – why else would so much be written about achieving goals in 90 days …

Common sense

What you do, affects how you live. The money and benefits you get from that job, set your perceptions and govern your choices, so it’s a pretty big deal. We spend countless hours commuting, sitting at desks and putting the world to rights with our extended working family. Those who love what they do, get a real buzz from doing it, a sense of belonging and satisfaction.

Changing jobs should be about enrichment as well as building a career. Perhaps your move was spurred by your ambition to rise through the ranks or your determination to find a better work life balance. Remember what prompted you to start your job search. Does the new job or the counter-offer best answer the issues you sought to address? Are you sacrificing personal progress for short-term gain? Will you look back in five years time and feel glad that you didn’t move or filled with regret? Does your counter-offer reflect a renewed value of your skills or is it a knee jerk to recruitment costs incurred in replacing you? Only you’ll know the answer.

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