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Don’t be an April Fool!

So you’re thinking of changing jobs…. you’re not getting the opportunities you want, the money isn’t there, and you’re frustrated with your manager… it’s got you thinking it’s time to start looking.

But what happens when you find that great new opportunity and your current employer gives you a counteroffer to stay?  Did you just hit the jackpot by getting a promise of that new promotion, new responsibility, or bigger paycheck?  Or will accepting the counteroffer end up feeling like an April Fool’s day joke gone very wrong?

Here’s what happens if you accept that counteroffer…

Remember when you first started at your current company and you were the new kid in class? It took time to build trust and rapport with the team. Yeah, that’s all gone now. Because as committed as you may be, your team won’t trust you anymore. Because they don’t know if you’re serious about staying on the team or not. And your manager?  Same thing. You may have once been the trusted confidant and go-to person for new projects. Not anymore.

And what about the promises they made with the counteroffer? The less (or more) travel, the promised special bonus, the hiring of additional people to help with the workload… likely none of it will ever happen. Why? Because if the company could have done those things before, they would have already. The reality is that typically those promises are a band-aid used to stop the bleeding of losing a valued employee.  Once the bleeding is stopped (i.e. counteroffer accepted), the status quo settles back into place.  There are no new budgets, no extra money to hire additional staff, and no one right now who can take over your current responsibilities.  You are in the role you are in because that is where the company needs you. So, while they say they will change those things, they likely won’t, because they can’t.

Or even worse. What if your company makes you a counteroffer just so that they have time to find your replacement? Then, in a few months, there’s an uncomfortable conversation about how it’s “just not working out anymore” and you’re left with nothing, while the company moves their new employee into your old office. To make matters worse, the company you turned down? They won’t even take a second look at you now.

So, what do you do?

Before you let your frustrations get the best of you and start applying for new jobs, do an honest evaluation of your current job and company. What are the reasons you’re frustrated? List them out. Money, role, opportunity, culture, etc. Then take the old-fashioned approach and write out a pro’s and con’s list for the company.  Understand your priorities, goals, and the realities of your current situation.

Then start your search and find the company or position that makes you happy. The one that aligns with your priorities and goals and that addresses the cons of your current situation.  When an offer is extended, be ready to accept it and don’t look back.

April Fool’s Day jokes are funny, just don’t let the joke be on you this April Fool’s!