Job offer question

I got an offer for a new job 2 weeks ago from NewCompany. I liked it, it was a 10% bump in pay and I accepted and gave notice.

OldCompany’s response was that they wanted to counter with a raise and promotion. I was basically asked what my number is. After some back and forth, the result is that I now have a counter offer that is another 12% above NewCompany’s offer. So, if I do switch jobs, it’s now a pay decrease and not a pay increase. I was really torn up about all this, but NewCompany job would also involve some travel and more hours – it’s not an ideal job and part of the reason I accepted was the pay bump. I just can’t justify switching jobs if involves travel, more hours, and a now an effective decrease in pay.

Is there any hope that if I go back to NewCompany, they’ll counter back? Or is that a pipe dream. FWIW I’m supposed to start a week from Monday - the process of getting a counter offer dragged out, just because I wasn’t unsure what to do or how much to ask for. I originally told my employer no thanks, I just need new scenery and they persisted.

In my experience, staying at a job after having given notice has never worked out. They know you’re prepared to leave, you know you’re prepared to leave, and neither of you will be able to stop wondering when it will happen.

That said, I think you should go ahead and stay. It sounds like the current job is a better fit for you. Just be prepared.

You’re hardly the first to ever end up in this position…

If a company is willing to give you nearly a 25% bump to stay, that’s not trivial. That they’re persisting after you made it clear it wasn’t just money is significant, too.

If you stay with OldCorp, what’s your future besides a bigger paycheck?

If you go with NewCorp, what’s your future look like?

If you stay with OC this round, what are your chances of moving on in a year?

It’s a tough position to be in. Determine which job you want without regard to pay and make your decision that way. If it’s new job you don’t want to risk the offer by asking for even more. If it’s the old job then first make sure you and they are clear on what’s expected of you and what you can look forward to before declining the offer from new job.

Probably not, IME. Nonetheless, if it were me (and it has been, in the past) I would still accept NewCompany’s offer.

Like Frank says, staying on after giving notice never works out. Do you really want to stay at a company that won’t give you a raise unless you threaten to quit?

Good luck to you no matter what you do.


I’d stay at the old job. Many companies were so cheap during the recession and slow recovery and they didn’t give out adequate salary increases. Now that companies are seeing people changing jobs as well as the increased difficulty in hiring qualified people, they’re finally starting to increase pay.

I’d go. If the company really valued you, you wouldn’t have to threaten to leave to get them to pay you properly for your work. There was obviously extra money available to pay you more, they just wanted to see how long they could keep it away from you, which is not exactly a mark in their favor. Now you’ve demonstrated that you’re disloyal, so it’s not uncommon for them to try to line up a replacement, and you’ve probably torpedoed advancement chances down the road. Also, do you want to have to keep finding a new job and threatening to leave every few years to keep progressing your salary? They’ve established that doing good work doesn’t get you raises, only threatening to quit does.

Is your company/management ethical at old company? If so, I’d stay. I disagree that if they’d valued you they would have given you a raise already - companies really don’t work like that for rank and file employees. If they are ethical, then you’ve gotten yourself a raise and promotion - it will be a few years before you are “due” for any additional raise and promotion, so who cares what your career path is like - and in the modern world - a few years at a job is a lifetime. 12% isn’t anything to sneeze at and your current employer is a known quantity.

On the other hand, if old company isn’t ethical, they might give you a raise and promotion to keep themselves from being screwed, hire your replacement, get them trained in, then lay you off.

I jumped from an ethical company for more money and a promotion and didn’t take the counter. And the company I jumped into was an ethical cesspool where the job I took turned out to be not at all the job I was promised. So while staying doesn’t always work, leaving doesn’t always work either.

That’s part of a more complex question: is giving notice and making them buy you back going to cost you in daily issues? Will they ride you harder on details and quantity of whatever you do? Expect you to pick up more slack? Work longer hours? This can be anything between an irritated boss making you pay (back) for your insubordination to a fairly reasonable company expectation that if they up your compensation almost a quarter, you owe them more for it (including more loyalty and diligence).

Work is a relationship. If you yank on it, you can’t expect there to be no consequences no matter what’s going on up front.

OTOH, new jobs tend to have something of a honeymoon period. Until you find out whether they’re good to work for or not.

Go with NewCo.

Ask yourself this, if you were really worth that 12% bump at OldCo all this time, why did they only offer it to you when you said you would leave?

Accepting a counter-offer from your current employer is often a recipe for disaster. I’m not going to say it’s never a good idea, but I think it’s usually a bad one. Switching to a new employer is always a risk, but it’s a chance to get a significant change in your routine, learn new skills, get a fresh perspective on your industry, etc.

Another one for taking the new job.

I’ve seen this sort of thing before and it never ends well. You likely won’t get a raise for a long time and they’ll say its because they gave you this huge bump and a promotion and why are you ungrateful for all they’ve given you? You’ll be resented by co-workers who can’t get the same. You’ll likely have a ton more work dumped on you and held to a much higher (higher than other co-workers of the same rank) standard because you made them do this to keep you.

And as above, if they really thought you worth this all along, why didn’t they lift a finger to pay you what you were worth before this happened? Because THAT is why you’ll likely experience the issues I presented in the previous paragraph.

Highly ethical in terms of how they treat employees - at least, that is how I would describe the group under my VP (who is not going anywhere). He basically said, if it’s not about the money they we understand and we wish you well. But if it is about the money then I can fix that. And to be fair I had not asked about promotions, and raises are pretty fixed otherwise. I just assumed it would not happen, at least not in the next 5 years.

OP, did you give your old employer any clue you were unhappy with your situation before handing over your notice? The repeated refrain here that “they didn’t give a damn” may not be true; employers and employees may simply not be on the same page. If they thought you were happy, you were lower priority to review and raise and promote and so forth than others who might have said they were ready to move… up, out, on, whatever.

Some clue. In retrospect, yes they may have done more if I had expressed unhappiness. I was not expecting that at the time.

I don’t hold it against them that the pay bump came in this fashion - I mean, ok I am a little surprised I got this much of a raise, it would have saved a lot of trouble if this happened 3 month ago. A promotion was mentioned about a year ago (along the lines of, you deserve it but it will take a while) and I never really followed up because, well, things move slow around here. Also I should mention I was on maternity leave earlier this year – no one expects the pregnant lady to be interviewing.

Thank you I admit I am secretly hoping I’ll back out of the offer and it will be met with another “Wait, what can we do?” But from their perspective … I asked for a number and they met it, without quibbles. The ink is dry.

So they have a chance to let the lazy breeder go… and try pretty hard to keep her instead. Will NewCo be as accommodating, labor laws and all notwithstanding?

(That’s humor, by the way. I was co-owner of a company that employed almost entirely 25-35 married women who liked working with children, and surprise-surprise it seemed like half of them were pregnant at any one time. It got to be a regular factor in staffing and client coverage.)

Regarding OldCorp, I’d invoke Hanlon’s Razor: “Don’t assume bad intentions over neglect and misunderstanding.”

Some folks are implying that the bosses there were having secret meetings where they debated a raise: “Should we give sugar and spice a raise for all the hard work? Nah, what’s she going to do, quit? evil cackles

It can be very hard to estimate what an employee is worth. Market value is only injected into the conversation in spurts, such as when a competing offer appears. IMHO, the most likely scenario is that OldCorp has been operating in good faith, perhaps giving standard annual increases to cover inflation, and never had reason to assume sugar and spice’s pay had deviated from market value until now. This spawned a re-evaluation, and out popped an attractive pay offer. That’s a very positive signal to me. And the fact that they are beating NewCorp’s offer by so much is their attempt to keep this from coming up again in the near future.

If one could rewind time, a better approach might have been to talk to OldCorp ahead of time. But given the current state of affairs, I see no reason to assume malice on their part.

I’d tend to go.
Why did you look for a new job? Was it just money, or was it being bored with the job, or slow promotions, or something else? What does the new company say about raises and promotions? How do they do raises? It might be worth asking what the average raise was last year.
If you stay you won’t be getting a raise for a very long time, since your new salary might be high relative to others. Is that okay with you?
Finally, there will be at least some nervousness in old company about whether you’ll leave anyhow with your new salary as a base to help you get still another job.

Depends on the job duties, the absolute amount of the raises, and how old you are. And whether the new title at OldCo means anything anywhere else.

The concern I always have, which others have expressed, is that a company will sometimes pay whatever they have to in order to keep an employee, just for as long as they need to find a replacement. Do you think your company is sincerely willing to up your pay by 25% on a permanent basis for you to continue doing your job? Or is it more likely that they are biting the bullet for now in order to avoid the inconvenience of not having your job covered, but will be on the lookout for a replacement closer to your old rate? You know your company; I don’t, so you have to answer the question, but that seems like a pretty big hike to me just to keep what they have. If it was a matter of 5% or even 10%, I might not be so suspicious, but 25% really does raise questions in my mind, including the question - also one that others have expressed - as to why your services have not been so well valued up till now. If they are willing to pay that much more, then you would seem to have clearly been underpaid in the past.