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How To Dodge Counter-Offers And Leave Your Job Properly

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Once you've been an offered a new role, and just want to move on. 

After deciding that you want to leave your current place of work, getting through the round of applications and interviews and subsequently being offered a job at a new company, upon handing in your resignation, what do you do when your current employer matches or even offers you a more lucrative package?

This is what you call a counter-offer, and you can read more on our thoughts about it here

You know you definitely don't want accept it or even come close to considering it. But you're left in the dark as to how to approach the situation the best way possible. 

If you're steadfast in your decision to move onto new waters, and you just want this proccess to go smoothly, then follow our fail-proof tips below. 

For those with seconds thoughts on leaving their current employer at this stage: if you're still, for whatever reason, unsure if you do want to make the next move AND have just accepted a new role... you may have landed yourself in hot water! You shouldn't have accepted the new role without having a good think about the next best steps in your career. This decision could be detrimental to your relationship with your potential new employer and current employer. 

You have to think if you really wanted to quit or if you accepted a job offer only to incite a counter-offer. If this is so, tread carefully. You may not receive a counter-offer at all, and might end up disappointed. Also, as you've already agreed to take on the other role, be prepared to work in a different company when you probably didn't want to move to in the first place. You can stay with your current employer if you can get past the embarassment of threatening to leave, but not actually leaving. 

Put it on paper 

Have your resignation in writing or printed on paper. This eliminates confusion and it's the professional way in which to terminate a job. Never underestimate the power of writing as evidence - it can always be used against people. For instance, if your employer is somehow convinced you're still considering staying, you have a document to prove them otherwise. 

Also avoid the embarassment of mumbling something half-heartedly along the lines of "I want to quit..." - if you really wanted to negotiate some counter-offer, or really just wanted a payrise to begin with, do it the right way and discuss it with your employer.

In your resignation letter include an expression of gratitude for the time you spent at the company, and a statement saying that you are willing to assist the team with the transition of new team members. 

Enforce your words

When discussing your resignation, use words such as "my decision is final", or "I'm intent on my decision". This hopefully gives them an impression that they shouldn't even attempt to convince you to stay, 

Reject politely

They finally present a counter-offer. An increased pay, bonuses, more holidays - the lot. 

This is the moment of truth: if you really want to leave, politely decline. If this is secretly what you wanted all along, negotiate away. 

If they do get upset that you aren't considering their counter-offer, or are surprised that you wanted to resign at all, remain calm. Don't dignify questions such as "How could you do this to us?", or any other forms of hostile conversation. Just repeat your message loud and clear, that you've cherished your time there and it's time for you to move on. 

In the end of the day, it's important to stick to your guns. If you're really intent on moving, they'll sense that. 

Additional tips: 

Work like you've never worked before 

Don't de-motivate yourself during the last few weeks. On the contrary, work harder. Help the team with the handover of your role to the next person and assist them with projects. 

Give it your until the very last minute. Allow your excitement for your new job to fuel you through the last few days. Working hard to the very end allows you to take a gleaming reference with you wherever you go, and maintains your relationship with your employer and it gives noone anything bad to say about you. 

Keep your message uniform

Undoubtedly, you'll have friends or colleagues at the workplace who'll want to know why you made this big move. Don't get carried away and tell them the gritty reasons as to why you really left the job - tell them what you told your employer. This avoids the spreading of rumours and any bad blood between the two parties.