Resigning from a job can be a very stressful and emotional time. Being armed with the right information and getting advice from people you know and trust can make the whole process much simpler and less impactful.

Whilst everyone has a different experience when leaving a job and ultimately has different reasons for doing so, one of the most common dilemmas is how to deal with a counter offer. Below we offer some guidance on what you might wish to consider if this happens.

So what can I expect when I resign?

Your company will no doubt be sorry to lose you. You will likely have contributed to their sales and profits. You are probably involved in a project that requires your skills. Put yourself in your manager's position. What would you do?

The Counter Offer

It is natural to resist change and disruption. Your manager will be no exception. He/she may want to keep you and may attempt to do so with a counter offer. In his/her eyes, your decision to accept a new job is a mistake.

Counter offers take many forms:

  1. "This is confidential and I shouldn't really be telling you this, but we were looking at promoting you in the next six months."

  2. "We will match your new offer and put it into effect next pay day. I had meant to review it anyway."

  3. "Don't make a decision now, have a think about it and we'll sit down next week and discuss it."

Implications of the Counter Offer

Of course it is flattering that your company is concerned to hear that you are leaving, so your emotions can obscure your reasons for leaving. It is natural to be apprehensive about starting afresh with a new company and to let nagging doubts about doing the right thing grow the more your boss tries to convince you to stay. Stop and ask yourself these questions:

  1. "I made the decision to leave because I felt the new position offered me the best environment to advance my career. If I stay will the situation here really improve just because I said I was leaving?"

  2. "If I stay, will my loyalty be in question and affect my chances of advancement once the dust has settled?"

  3. "This rise makes me very expensive for the job position I'm in. How will that affect any future salary reviews?"

  4. "I got this counter offer because I resigned - will I have to do that the next time I think I'm ready for a rise or a promotion?"

Advice will be offered by well-meaning friends, relatives and business associates. Rely primarily upon your own judgment because you are the only one who can fully understand the implications.

Remember... the counter offer is only a belated recognition of the contribution you have made to your company. If it had come unprompted, wouldn't that be a lot more flattering? Move ahead with the goal of making yourself as valuable to your new employer as you now know you were to your old one.

If you need help with a resignation letter, an example template is provided below:

Dear John

Please accept this letter as formal written notice of my resignation from the role of Bid Manager.

I am very grateful for the opportunities you have provided and feel I have advanced my skills and knowledge, however I have been offered an opportunity which I believe better fits my long-term career aspirations.

As required by my contract of employment, I hereby give one months’ notice to terminate my contract.

I will be committed to my role whilst working my notice. If there are any handover notes you would like me to prepare or any other task you’d like me to focus on until then, please let me know.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you and everyone that I have had the pleasure of working with over the past two years. I have enjoyed being part of the team and appreciate the training and support you have given me.

I wish you all the success for the future.

Kind regards
Joe Bloggs