The Resignation and the Counter

By The Intersect Group

If you have been offered a new job, first things first: congratulations! Especially  during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn.

We will discuss in a moment how to let your current employer know you are leaving, but there is one thing you should understand and prepare for: there is a high probability your current employer will counter the new company’s offer and either match your new higher salary and better benefits or offer you more.

Considering taking the counteroffer? We’ll explain why you should not below.

Tendering Your Resignation the Right Way

The right thing to do is to tell your manager as soon as you have accepted the other company’s job offer. The traditional notice is two weeks, but it could be longer or shorter depending on your role in the company.

Unless you have signed a contract, you do not have to give notice: you could leave right away. We strongly suggest a formal resignation because it is the right and professional thing to do. Leaving with no notice can wreak havoc on your colleagues’ schedules and workload. (You also do not want to burn bridges: make sure you don’t leave co-workers cursing your abrupt leave-taking.)


Write a Resignation Letter and Present it to Your Supervisor

Keep the letter short and brief:

  • State that you are resigning to take on another opportunity (you are not obligated to give the company’s name or the type of work you will be doing)
  • Provide your intended last day
  • Offer to help with the transition
  • Include your personal contact information
  • Thank your manager for the opportunity working at the company has brought you

You will want to ask your supervisor for a meeting. If you are working remotely, request a video meeting. Do not tell anyone about the new job until you’ve told your manager.

This meeting is not the time to complain about the company, your boss, colleagues, customers, etc.  You want to leave on the best of terms: you may need a reference from them some day!


Your Last Days on the Job

Your co-workers and others  may ask you all about your new position, but it is usually best not to talk too much with colleagues and others about your new role.

You also should  continue working hard. Maintain your work standard, particularly if your boss asks you to finish an important project or help train a colleague in different aspects of your job.


Is a Counter Offer in Your Future?

As mentioned above, you should be very proud of yourself for winning this new position at a time when millions of highly qualified people are out of work. Hiring managers are aware that they can pick and choose among some pretty terrific people, and your new employer chose you – that is a big deal!

If your current employer had to lay off workers due to the current economic downturn, you also should understand that – because you weren’t let go – your employer feels you are among the best of its employees. Many talented people are laid off at times like this, yet companies still do all they can to keep people during reductions in force.

We mention all this for a reason: your current employer is going to be VERY sad to see you go.

Hence, the counter offer.


Beware the Counter Offer

Every company and every situation within that company is different, but it’s generally a good idea not to accept a counter offer from your current employer. After all, chances are you were unhappy at your current company – unhappy enough that you applied for another job. Will a higher salary, a promotion, different responsibilities, etc. really resolve the reasons for your unhappiness? Surveys of senior executives and senior human resources officers say no.

Also, accepting a counter can adversely affect your career because many of the people that decide to stay end up leaving within a year anyway. Why? Because their employer lets them go. Their employer no longer trusted their loyalty.


Just Say No Thank You

So be wary of a counter offer: your manager may have panicked about how she’s going to replace you. Why did it take you leaving to be worth that money, promotion, etc.

Instead, stand firm. Thank your boss for offering the raise/promotion and let her know you have already made your commitment to your new employer.   You know you are leaving her at a disadvantage and that you are willing to help make your transition as easy as possible for everyone.