Monday, March 22, 2010

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

You have been unhappy at work for a while. You have half-heartedly been looking for another opportunity, and now, you finally have an offer on the table. You ponder the offer for a while, and then decide that it is time to print out the letter of resignation you wrote when you first started looking for another job, sign it, and hand it to your boss. Upon reading your letter of resignation, your boss invites you to have a chat about your decision to leave the company. As a result of the chat, your boss tries to convince you to withdraw your resignation. What should you do?

You are likely to agonize about your decision to have sent the letter in the first place. You now think about the impact that accepting or declining the counteroffer will have on your family. You are flattered by the fact that your boss chose to make it a little more difficult for you to leave by offering you more money, more time off or the promise of a promotion in the very near future. You begin to reminisce about the ‘good times’ you had with your soon-to-be ex co-workers. And now you are beginning to wonder if you did the right thing be resigning in the first place.

The best way to make a decision of this magnitude is to approach the problem pragmatically.
  • Regardless of the reason[s] why you wrote the letter of resignation in the first place, once your letter of resignation has been received, you have effectively set in motion a chain of events for which there is no “Mulligan” – [A ‘mulligan’, most simply put, is a "do-over."]
  • Even though your current employer has sweetened the deal, keep in mind that they are making a counteroffer much more for their benefit than yours. Why did they wait until you resigned, to offer you what you're really worth to them?
  • As a result resignation letter, you have now established that your loyalty to your boss and the company is in question.
  • The sole purpose of the counteroffer is to take advantage of you until they find a less expensive and ‘more dedicated’ replacement.
  • Decent and well-managed companies NEVER make counteroffers due to the fact that their policies are fair and equitable.
  • Apart from a short-term, band-aid treatment, nothing will change within the company. After the dust settles from this upheaval, you'll be in the same old rut.


Declining a counter offer with tact and finesse is always a good idea. Make sure your letter of resignation includes a thank you to your soon-to-be ex-employer for the opportunities you were given during your tenure at the company; it will keep your integrity intact and you will avoid any bad feelings that might damage your references.