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I have a job that involves too much travelling for my work-life balance. I have discussed it many times with my manager, got a lot of promises, but there has been no long term improvement.

I have decided to job hunt, and got a good offer, I will give my three-month notice next week.

However good the other offer is, I consider my current job with reasonable travel better than the new offer.

Should they agree to amend my contract and put something in writing on this topic (asked for before, and never granted) I would probably rescind my resignation.

My question is: In my manager's office, upon giving my letter, should I let him know I am open to a counter-offer and lay things out, at the risk of sounding black-mailingly, or should I keep to myself, and wait for management to, maybe, come back with a counter-offer?

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You could just honestly tell them that you like your job, but, unfortunately, have to quit, because so much traveling doesn't allow you to maintain a good work-life balance. It's quite explicit, so everyone would understand (or at least get an idea of) what is needed in order to keep you, but it still wouldn't look like blackmail.

Not getting a counter-offer in this case would probably mean that either they can't reduce the number of travels, or that they would rather just hire someone who is okay with it. Or that they didn't get the hint, but I don't think it's very likely.

  • Yes. But make do this in a way that they know they have a week to try and accommodate you(everything takes time) with the ultimatum being that you will resign. If they have not sorted it out in a week then hand in your notice. Don't need to mention the other position. – Martin York Jun 3 at 23:47
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Accepting a counter offer is almost always a mistake. It means twisting your employer's arm. Depending on your location it may mean that you will be let go later, after the company has found your replacement, or that you will be kept but treated less seriously because of your past decision to give them an ultimatum, which means: less career progression, less salary increases, etc.

If accepting a (not requested) counter offer is a bad idea, requesting it is even more crazy.

Work is a lot about creating the right impressions. Loyalty is one of the most important positive traits in the eyes of employers. By requesting a counter offer you are ruining your being perceived as a loyal employee. The probability this will be a winning strategy is very low.

The time to talk to your company about your travels is before you give your notice or mention that you are even considering giving your notice.

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This is one of the rare occasions where you have a very strong negotiating position. Use it wisely: The best approach here is "situational". Take your cues from their reaction and responses and adjust as needed

Step 1: Start with a neutral resignation later. Keep it short and simple: just that you resign and your effective departure date. If you get no reaction or just a cookie cutter response, than you are done. It means they are perfectly okay with you leaving and you should take the hint and go.

Step 2: If someone asks "why are you leaving?", you need to gauge who is asking and why. Only talk to someone who can make a material change: you tell them your story truthfully an accurately: "Too much travel and all attempts to reel this in have failed". Make sure you have some examples of what you have tried, so they can't weasel out with "I didn't know this". Don't say anything more, and wait what they do.

Step 3: If they want to keep you, you want them to say "What can we do to keep you here?" or "What needs to happen so you would stay?". If you are not getting this, it's probably not worth staying, since they are not interested enough in you. If you get the question, carefully state the goals but try to push as much of the details and specifics on the employer. "I really need my travel to be no more than 1 week/quarter and I don't see a viable way to get there. What would you suggest?".

Step 4: negotiate the details and make sure there are hard deliverable or concession. When they make a suggestion, make sure it is specific and detailed, can be clearly documented in writing and it contains a clause that describes the consequences when violated. Just them saying "ok, we'll have you travel less" is not sufficient. Be firm: "I need something in writing or an amendment to my contract that clearly limits the amount of business travel". If they suggest something that they have tried before, just say "we tried this before and it didn't help. How can I be sure it would be different this time?". At the end of the day, they need to convince you that they have a credible path forward, and it's your decision what "credible" means.

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It is always reasonable to be open and honest about what your goals are.

Hi boss, as we've discussed previously, the travel is too much for me. I haven't seen that improve, so I've found a job elsewhere - consider this my three months' notice. However, I like working here, so I think you should know that if you were to take concrete action to fix the travel problem by doing XYZ, I could be persuaded to stay.

The ball is then in your employer's court. Clear and simple, no need for subtle hints that may be misinterpreted; just the facts as you see them, and a specific statement of what you are looking for.

With that said, the usual advice never to accept a counter-offer will probably still apply. If your employer hasn't fixed this problem until now, do they care that much about you? Will they keep you long enough to train your replacement, then get rid of you? At least if you leave now, it will be on your terms. But, that is a separate matter and up to you.

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Imagine for a moment that you do hand in your notice: Your boss thanks you for your years of service, you'll be missed, we'll have a going away party etc, and in 3 months time you're out the door. If you hand in your notice, it may be hard to back down from it, if they don't make a counter-offer.

But do you really intend to leave if they don't give you what you want? You've got to think to yourself that perhaps they won't be rattled by this. It may just be one more thing that they have to get past and they'll get on with it. It could even be something that they would welcome: perhaps they are aware that you are unhappy with your travel arrangements and would prefer to have someone in the position who is NOT actively looking for changes or possibly looking for a new job (and they'd be stupid to think that you're not - anyone who asks for something and doesn't get it is always going to start keeping an eye open just in case anything better comes up)

You mention that your current job is better than the new one and so, fast forward to nine months time, you're 6 months in the new job: do you think you'll be wishing you were back in the old (current) one? If the answer is yes, then your only course may be to continue in your current role and look for a better job.

Something you might want to consider: depending on the type of work you do, is it realistic to think you can have all of the things you're looking for? For example: Is it the case that the amount of travel that you do is to be expected for someone in your position with your salary and any benefits? Do you have colleagues in your organisation who travel less whilst being in essentially the same job as you?

Hope this helps

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The best advice is to make up your own mind whether you want to stay on the current job or move on to the new offered job. Anything different from this simple binary state decision ends up being a bunch of mind games with yourself and the current employer. Keep yourself in the drivers seat with a good committed and solid decision. You will have more long lasting confidence in your course of action and will not have to worry about what may be the impacts of a hastily negotiated counter offer or long term effects on the the perception of your professional nature.

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