Why your boss counteroffered and when to accept or decline.

You’ve worked long hours, added to the company’s bottom line, and get along with everyone. You’ve also found yourself underpaid and have the government­issued salary statistics to prove it. After scoping out the job market, revamping your resume and painstakingly applying for dream­worthy positions, you received a job offer – that pays more. With that type of salary increase, an early retirement could be within reach. Private school tuition for the kids, no sweat! This whole getting paid­what­you’re­worth thing is going to be amazing. When you tell your boss that you’re resigning, she offers a raise and hopes you stay. Now you’re wrestling with the idea of whether you should stay or go. What is it about your resignation that triggered a more competitive salary offer? Should you accept your boss’ counteroffer?

Why bosses make counteroffers

● Ego – some employers take pride in low human capital costs and might even receive a pat on the back from stakeholders but panic at the idea of losing a peg team member.

● Your boss is willing to move mountains in avoidance of workplace disruptions and project delays.

● New hire costs and learning curves send shivers down your employer’s spine.

● More common in highly specialized positions, your employer may have been in the dark about fair pay for the work that you do.

● Your boss can envision you excelling in a new position that they actually can pay you more for.

When you should stay 
You love the company culture, workplace location, and people that you work with. Everything about the position makes you happy except for the pay. If money is the only reason that you decided to search for other positions and management has always made you feel valued then staying could be mutually beneficial for both parties. Keep in mind: If you stay, you could be left out of “insider information” at the office and may not receive the same level of trust from your boss again. Should your resignation get leaked to the rest of the office, your employees might feel slighted and begin a secret job search of their own.

When you should leave
Monday mornings are accompanied with feelings of dread and you have never felt appreciated by management – those things won’t change with a pay increase. If you felt a sense of total relief when you received that job offer from the prospective employer – leave. Do you enjoy your work environment but find your responsibilities and career trajectory stifling? If your current employer is unable to create a new position that better utilizes your strengths, it will only be a matter of time before your performance drops off due to boredom or you move on elsewhere.

Keep in mind: By disclosing the salary offer from a prospective job in the first place, you might have unintentionally opened a can of worms. Rejecting a counteroffer or negotiating back and forth only to then say “No” could burn bridges. Experts agree that accepting counteroffers from current employers rarely result in long­-term success without negative changes in the employer/­employee dynamic. Most of the time, counter offer acceptance is a bad idea. In the rare case that you love coming to work every day and your current employer makes you an offer that you can’t refuse – go for it.