Never, Ever Fall For The Counteroffer

So, you finally made the decision to move on. It could have been for any one of a million reasons, but you made it. You wrote your resume, found a recruiter that you liked, and started your search. After a few interviews, you receive an offer. You accept, and agree to a start date 2 weeks down the road.

Now all that’s left to do is to write your resignation letter and deliver it to your manager. You’re floating. You knock on your manager’s door and ask him if he has a few minutes. You hand him the letter and politely tell him that you are resigning. He asks you what he can do to get you to stay. You hesitate. He asks you for details of your offer and suggests that he may be able to meet or exceed it. You pause for a moment, and begin asking some questions.

From the moment that you hesitated, you blew it. The only correct thing to do was to immediately say that while you enjoyed working for the company, that the decision is final.

Now here’s the list of reasons why you should never, ever fall for the counteroffer:

  1. Remember, there was a reason or reasons why you started looking in the first place. What in the counteroffer changes any of that?
  2. Your resignation letter was effectively an ultimatum to the company – pay up or I’m leaving. So now that they’ve paid up, they can begin looking for your replacement on their terms.
  3. Good luck with your next promotion within the company. In all likelihood, they will hold the counteroffer over your head for years to come (if you even last that long).
  4. I hope that you realize that you have just wasted a whole bunch of people’s time – from recruiters, to hiring managers, to HR, to administration staff, to your references, to the other candidates for the job. Not to mention the costs that your prospective employer went through performing background checks and employment verification. If you accept the counteroffer, you have probably burned a bridge with both the recruiter and the employer. Don’t expect either of them to welcome you into their offices ever again.
  5. You’ve just demonstrated to everyone involved that you did not think things through very thoroughly – that you are immature and inexperienced. That you are unreliable.

Remember, it takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and only a moment to tarnish it. So, before you even begin looking for a new job, make sure that you are fully committed to moving on, and that there is no way that you would accept a counteroffer.

For a good employer will be happy for you when they learn about your career move, and may even consider bringing you back at a position of higher responsibility sometime down the road.

Managing For Results, Not Time Spent Working

What should managers care the most about – the number of hours that their employees put in, or the results that they produce? In North America, the emphasis seems to be on getting employees to work more hours, with the assumption being that productivity will increase. But, will it?

Well, studies show that the optimal work week is – drum roll please – 40 hours!

Bring back the 40-hour work week

Stop Working More Than 40 Hours a Week

If you work in the area of software development, then you really need to read this post “Why Crunch Modes Doesn’t Work” from The International Game Developers Association.

And what is the impact on employees working more than 40 hours per week for an extended period? According to Business Insider stress, heart disease, hypertension, and depression, just to name a few.

America’s 55-hour work weeks ruin workers’ lives and don’t produce extra value for employers

You Don’t Learn About Success By Studying Failure

Over the course of my career I’ve had different conversations with people who defended their decisions to stay at a job that either wasn’t fulfilling, or didn’t offer them any room for growth. Frequently, one of the main reasons given for staying ends up being, “but at least I’m learning what not to do”.

That has got to be one of the worst excuses to stay. Ever.

You don’t learn about success by studying failure. Think about it for a moment — can you learn to be a world class tennis player by watching poor players? How about trying to become a champion chess player? You study Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky, not Grandpa and the guy down the street!

Want to learn how to have a successful marriage? Don’t waste your time studying failed marriages, and say that you’ll just do the opposite. If you study failed marriages, you will notice that they probably argue a lot. But guess what, people who have successful marriages argue too?! The difference being that in successful marriages they fight fair. If you decide that in order to have a successful marriage that you will never argue, well, good luck with that. Going to bed angry with your spouse is heading down a path that could quite likely lead to the end of your marriage.

If you want to grow, surround yourself with people who are better than you. If you want to be a better programmer, work with great programmers. If you want to be a better manager, observe how great managers operate.

Now, go out there and do it!