Should I leave my company?
December 14, 2011 5:46 PM   Subscribe

Should I just put in my two weeks or try to get a counter-offer from my current company? (or something else I haven't thought of?)

I am currently working at a large engineering company. I graduated from a leadership development program recently. While I was on program, I spent a year doing a job two pay grades higher than my own. Furthermore, although I was interested in staying on there, the department strung me along for about 7 months telling me to wait until a job opening came out. I had student loans to pay off and I was on a month to month lease so I started looking for another job.

I then found this current job and I accepted it. This job was a promotion and I got a bit of a salary bump. About two months into this job, a salary comparison discussion inevitably happens between me (I have 3 years of experience with the company after school) and two new hires in our group. Both new hires make the same salary that I do. Another new hire with a masters degree and no experience makes more than 10k than I do. Our company does not give out substantial raises, and I have had very good ratings every year. The raises have barely kept up with the cost of living. Also, I am once again saddled with a responsibility several paygrades higher than my own.

I started to apply out recently to other companies and I interviewed and accepted another job. The new job offers me 15k more plus a more significant bonus and relocation. Literally the day after I accepted the job, my current manager gave me the highest performance rating possible. At the same time, I'm planning on applying to a full-time business school (starting next fall), so if I get in, I may have to resign from whatever I'm doing anyway.
posted by graphitix to Work & Money (12 answers total)
Your current company did not value your time, effort, and experience, and another company has. Working where you are valued counts for a whole lot, and the fact that there's a raise and some bonuses available is just a big plus sign to this new place. I would go where I felt valued, and I would feel valued at this new company.
posted by deezil at 5:57 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

You accepted the new job. It would be wrong to stay and expect the counteroffer.
posted by scruss at 5:57 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

If your current employer valued you correctly in the first place, why weren't they paying you accordingly?

Counter-offers don't end well. You have signaled to your employer that you can be bought (and this is good. Employers should pay employees enough so that they're not tempted to look elsewhere.) If things get rough, you'll be the first to go.

Your company sounds like it really wants to eke as much work as possible out of you, at the lowest price. The downside to doing this is that people leave, because it's not worthwhile to them. If this is the pattern of behavior that your employer has established (and they have,) why on earth would you even entertain the idea of a counter-offer?

It sounds like they've treated you poorly. I would jump, and not give a moment's thought to the former employer.
posted by punchtothehead at 6:11 PM on December 14, 2011

So the question is, should you take a $15,000 raise in salary at a new job with a new employer? Why is this a question?

Oh, you can negotiate with your current employer -- maybe.

Well, if you can top the $15,000 raise, then I suppose you should stay where you are. If you can match it, then you have to consider all the factors that are conspicuously absent from your question. For instance, do you like where you work now? If you hate it, why would you want to stay? If you like it apart from your salary, doesn't that answer your question?
posted by J. Wilson at 6:51 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Take the new job.
posted by jeather at 6:57 PM on December 14, 2011

Response by poster: I suppose what makes this decision difficult is

1. I am not totally in love with the new job
2. I don't like my current job either
3. I am considering going back to school full-time next year, so is it even worth it to get a short-term pay bump?
posted by graphitix at 7:02 PM on December 14, 2011

Yep, leave for the short term bump.

You don't *know* you're going back to school full time next year. Take the new job.
posted by mleigh at 7:06 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]

Yes. If I have this right, you don't like either job. So, take the increased pay -- you may or may not go back to school, and even if you do, you will make more money in the meantime.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:07 PM on December 14, 2011

The only reason I can see you stay is if your current job would consider some sort of part time/casual option for you when you do go back to school (Assuming you would be interested in doing this, of course)
posted by kjs4 at 7:43 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Questions- is the current job with the same company you were applying for that strung you along and just a different division or dept? And how long have you been in this current job? I do want to counter the other posters who put zero responsibility on you for your salary- you accepted the job you have and from the way you tell your story only became disenchanted when you found out others were paid more. A lot of salary is about what you negotiated at hire and it reflects poorly on your character if you want to back out of a job you recently accepted bc you suddenly do not like the salary that you previously agreed to. If you have been with the company a few years though and raises have been poor that is a valid complaint and there is no dishonor in pursuing other employers.
posted by TestamentToGrace at 5:34 AM on December 15, 2011

So, I have a few seemingly conflicting things, advice-wise, but follow me...

The grass is rarely greener. Leaving a job and expecting the new one to kick ass above the current one, and to have none of the same kinds of problems (people, poor management, crappy raises, politics, poor back office admin, whatever) is naive.

If you DO make a decision to leave, you should make sure you are being compensated. Looks like you are.

If you decide to leave, leave. Don't look for a counter offer. A few things here.. if you do stay and take the counter, then you have some baggage with you. You're not loyal. Your co-workers think you're opportunistic and an extortionist. (Maybe not so passionately, but the seeds will be there).

If you stay, you also have not solved any of the main reasons you're unhappy - unresponsive management that doesn't respect your career development. So you're going to have a bit of a chip on your shoulder and become disallusioned quicker.

If you have actually accepted the new offer, versus saying "Thanks, I'll get an answer to you in the next few days" then it's kind of awkward to turn down the offer. But it happens.

Also, this whole school thing - why not see if the new or old employer reimburse for school and go part time? I did that, actually, so I didn't have to shell out the money myself.

So - re-examine your reasons for leaving. Understanding they won't all be solved by leaving, is the money and opportunity a decent change (I usually go with a 20-30% increase). How comfortable are you being 'that guy' by taking a counter offer and everyone knowing? How good would a counter offer actually be, and is your manager (or others) one to hold a grudge? and what are your other options around school?
posted by rich at 6:12 AM on December 15, 2011

If you had not accepted the new job, my advice would be the same as I have previously posted: Ask your current job for the raise (promotion/perk/whatever) that would make you turn down the other offer and do not mention the other offer. If they accept, you do not have to appear disloyal and you get what you wanted. If they do not accept, you can take the other offer and explain to your current company that you got a better offer.

In this case, you know they won't give you a substantial raise and that previous raises haven't outpaced inflation by much. So, I don't think you even need to ask them for the raise or perk. Just leave. Unless... do either of these jobs offer to pay for school? Would you go part time if it was an option and made your tuition free? How does the cost of tuition compare to the 15K raise?
posted by soelo at 8:46 AM on December 15, 2011

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