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Counter Offers – What’s the Risk?

Counter offers loom large anytime you change workplaces. And in the midst of a strong economy, packaging executives are taking advantage of marketplace opportunities. Just when you think you’ve found the perfect fit, your existing employer tries to sway you back by sweetening the pot. Here's how to own your decision.

It’s no secret - there are more jobs to fill than good people to hire. That gives packaging executives a huge advantage (and leaves employers on edge). Once word gets out that a good employee is leaving, rest assured that management will do whatever they can to prevent it.

Including making counter offers of their own.

Counter Offers Are Rarely What They Seem

While it’s flattering to know that a company wants to keep you around, don’t let temporary adulation cloud your judgment. For whatever is being offered is merely a stopgap to prolong the inevitable. Saying yes feels good in the moment, but usually leads to unhappiness in the long run.

You might see changes initially, but they’ll soon be back to the status quo.  

Shaking things up on a moment’s notice is your employer’s way of saving face. Whether it’s to continue generating revenue, avoid having to find a replacement, or keep you on board until they do.

You have to ask yourself, “If my issues are important, why didn’t they address them sooner? And how do I know they won’t go back on their word later?” Tough questions for sure, but worthy of consideration.

Counter offers become a source of animosity.

Say, for a moment, you do come out better than before. Maybe your salary increases, your benefits improve, or you’re given increased rank or responsibility. Sounds good, right?

Maybe not.

No matter how tight-lipped you are, word still gets out. And when it does, your coworkers are going to be unhappy. Even though you’ve earned it, coerced promotions or salary increases can feel tainted. Others who deem themselves more qualified may shun you or question your authority.

Making for awkward interactions and difficult conversations.

Not to mention the fact that you may appear disloyal. Turning your back on the company for greener pastures, only to come running back when you get your way. Being a packaging executive is hard enough - adding extra baggage only makes it worse.

Whatever made you want to leave in the first place is still there.

When a counter offer is on the table, many job seekers conveniently forget the source of their problems. Perhaps it was an intolerable coworker who made you miserable. Or an incompetent boss who lacked leadership skills. Or worse - an employer who didn’t appreciate your value or comprehend your potential.

Guess what? Accepting a counter offer doesn’t make them go away. More often than not, the problems only get worse. Especially when you come away with more leverage than before.

Tread lightly.

Remain Professional (and Don’t Lose Your Head)

No doubt - being pursued feels intoxicating. Hearing that you're “too valuable to lose” strokes your ego in a way that’s hard to compare. But you must remain steadfast and not allow such actions to influence your decision.

Remember, permanent wins outweigh short-term victories.

As your resignation date gets closer, you’ll likely start to feel guilty about leaving coworkers behind, having open-ended projects, or putting your employer in a tough spot. These feelings are normal and an inevitable part of the process.

To counteract them, instead focus on the excitement of starting something new. The possibility of what’s to come. The chance to showcase your skills and make an impact.

For these are likely the reasons you sought a change in the first place.

And while it’s fine to be enthusiastic about your new opportunity, don’t burn the place down on your way out. Keep a level head and act professionally.

No matter how bad the situation is, always leave on a high note.

Doing so relieves stress and makes the process go smoother. It may also help minimize the chances of your employer pursuing a non-compete (or other retaliatory action).

If your employer does extend a counter offer, be prepared to act with diplomacy. Respond with phrases like:

·      “I’m flattered, but I’m not looking for a counter offer. That’s not why I’m leaving in the first place.”

·      “I already gave the other company my word - staying wouldn’t be fair to them.”

·      “I’m truly excited about my new opportunity. I’m going to stick with the decision I’ve already made.”

Keep the conversation as professional, polite, and succinct as possible. Working with a packaging recruiter can help avoid many common pitfalls and better prepare you for these tough situations.

Handling Counter Offer Questions - Mum's The Word

It’s all but guaranteed you’ll be pressed for info about your new employment. But the truth is, it’s really no one’s business but your own. The less you say the better. Else you leave the door open for further interrogation or possibly saying things you’ll regret afterward.

If asked for details, you’re under no obligation to provide them.

You don’t have to say anything about who is hiring you, the role you’ve accepted, or the specifics of your offer. It’s tempting to share your good news, but in these instances, it’s nearly impossible to walk away without offending someone.

Don’t be rude or negative to others. Avoid bragging about your new job or bad mouthing your existing one. And never part on bad terms or leave without saying goodbye.
Simply provide ample notice to your employer, offer to assist in the transition, and maintain a positive attitude throughout. Even if you don’t ever plan on coming back, leaving on a high note keeps the door open (just in case).

Besides, it’s the right thing to do.


With today’s hot job market, the demand for good packaging executives is strong. Great news for top talent, but worrisome for their employers. Should you find yourself taking advantage of a new opportunity, don’t expect your current employer to share your enthusiasm.

Smart ones will make a counter offer to keep you around. But look before you leap.

For most companies are way more concerned for their own well-being than they are about yours. Although you might land a small win - or see temporary changes in the interim - they won’t last.

Be polite, gracious in declining their offer, and don’t make waves on your way out.

After all, there’s a reason you wanted to leave in the first place. And the problem won’t get fixed overnight.

Together - We Succeed!

Chase & Associates

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