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I recently decided to take a new job offer because the new company is growing at an accelerated pace and I felt I had better future opportunities for me down the road.

I was not actively looking to leave my prior job, I just happened to have the opportunity come my way through an acquaintance. When I turned in my resignation, the current company counter offered with an additional 15k on top of my new job offer + a promotion, but I turned it down. After having talked to the manager and CTO, I understood the counter offer was made because they genuinely appreciated my work ethic and unique skillset, and that it was an accelerated promotion. I also left one of the best managers I've had who I am still friends with, a decent and friendly team, excellent work-life balance, flexible schedule (true unlimited PTO + WFH any time) in a small startup environment for a bigger + more hectic startup with less flexibility.

Now that I had left my prior job and the new start date is approaching, I find myself with immense regret in leaving what could have been an excellent salary in a comfortable position. I almost feel stupid for not taking the counter and using the great work-life balance that existed to enjoy my life outside of work.

I took a long time in making this particular decision. The previous job was one I did not dread going to, with great work-life balance, giving me the time and energy to enjoy my life outside. However, I decided to throw that all away just for a chance for a possibly better future. A lot riskier and with a lot more work and stress involved. I am starting to feel that there is nothing wrong with contentment where you are, and constantly seeking the next big thing is a road to burnout.

How does everyone deal with similar regret? I'm trying to stay positive and look forward to my new job, but my mind keeps revisiting what I had before and it is eating me up from inside.

  • How soon does the new job start? Working will help you take your mind off of things. – P. Hopkinson Jun 25 at 19:04
  • The new job starts in two weeks. I took some time off between jobs. – StressedWorkerBee Jun 25 at 19:16
  • What were these opportunities you were hoping for? – lucasgcb Jun 26 at 8:00
  • The opportunities I was hoping for were some eventual lateral moves in the company to what I desire. I've worked quite some time with dealing with customers, and I was looking for something more technical. The management team I'm headed to does have a track record of transitioning people to engineering roles, sales roles, and product management. – StressedWorkerBee Jun 26 at 8:11
  • I did leave on a very good note. I'm already planning on having lunch regularly with my previous manager, and also am invited to an upcoming team lunch. Human relationships are invaluable. – StressedWorkerBee Jun 26 at 23:38
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I disagree with the other answers posted. I think you should move to your new job.

What you are experiencing is the fear of moving out of your comfort zone. It happens. Look at it this way, more work also means more learning. You can grow personally by dealing with different set of problems, having new people around you and getting more challenging opportunities. You never know where this decision will take you, may be even further than your last job was offering.

I was in a comfort zone and used to think I will not survive once I move out of one of my products, where I spend around 5 years. But I took the plunge, moved on to a new job and gained valuable experience. It was worth it.

Let it be a similar journey for you. If things don't work out, you can always find a new job. I am sure if your old company values you so much, they will also be happy to take you back after an year if things don't work out. But spend that one year outside.

Personally I think you will come out wiser from this new experience and it will help you grow your career. Look at the original reason you have mentioned, accelerated pace, more growth opportunities. If you are such a valued employee, then I am sure you are not someone you likes to take it easy in life. The new challenges will add to your growth. You will create a space for yourself in the new set up as well. Have confidence in your ability. We live only once. You know what you are getting here. But you will never know what you will earn in the new place if you don't take that step.

What matters is that if you believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities, you will thrive anywhere.

  • +1. Very nicely put. I now disagree with my own answer. Alas, I can’t downvote it. – Nimesh Neema Jun 26 at 18:58
  • Thanks for this. I think it's what I needed to hear. Im confident I'll perform well as I always have. It just felt immense when I left behind a job that gave me so much freedom day to day. It's easy to forget how uncomfortable it is in the beginning. It didn't quite hit me till now. – StressedWorkerBee Jun 26 at 23:41
3

After having talked to the manager and CTO, I understood the counter offer was made because they genuinely appreciated my work ethic and unique skillset, and that it was an accelerated promotion.

I also left one of the best managers I've had who I am still friends with, a decent and friendly team, excellent work-life balance, flexible schedule (true unlimited PTO + WFH any time) in a small startup environment for a bigger + more hectic startup with less flexibility.

Did you give a thought to getting in touch with your manager and negotiating a hire back? It appears both your team and you are in friendly terms and regard each other.

There's practically nothing to lose in getting back in touch with your manager and discussing a hire back. Organization/Manager shouldn't mind getting back a talented individual with proven work record.

Now that I had left my prior job and the new start date is approaching

You still stand a good chance to discuss the hire back as you have not joined the new organization yet.

The new job may or may not turn out to be your liking, but it's certain that you'll be definitely in a better place if you join the old one (most likely with increment + promotion). A sure shot way to kill the stress would be to get back the old job.

1

You can always go back there and express what you just wrote to to your old boss.

Be honest, and admit that you thought harder about it, and that you regret your decision to leave. The worst that can happen is that you can be back to the same situation you have now.

That said, if they decide to take you back, be clear with the new company. Explain that you decided to come back because you realized you never wanted to leave and apologize for the incovinience.

Best of luck.

1

If I were in your shoes, I'd just have a chat with your old boss and discuss if there is a way you could return to your old role (or take up the new improved offer) if the new job doesn't work out.

If they say no, you know where you stand. If they says yes, just discuss time frames and give the new job a go - even if you're of a mind to go back to your old role. You may find yourself enjoying the challenge and you'll no doubt pick up some new skills/knowledge even if you do leave the new position a short time later.

It is horrible taking a role when your heart isn't in from the offset, but even bad jobs present different learning opportunities.

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As others have stated, it sounds like you should try getting in touch with your old job.

One thing I'd like to add is to the "Never accept a counteroffer" mentality, that definitely has it's reasons and merit. The main reasons never to accept a counteroffer when leaving are two:

  1. The old company didn't value you enough.
  2. You disliked the company, otherwise you wouldn't have searched for a new job.

Neither apply to this situation. It doesn't sound like they underpaid you. It doesn't sound like you asked them for a higher salary/position, where you were told "We have none". It doesn't sound like they didn't care until they found out you were leaving. It sounds like they paid what was expected and that they wanted to give you a promotion after time. Realizing that you wanted to shift to another company for greater potentials, they tried to offer you all the potential they could now, instead of when they otherwise expected to. This is not malicious company behavior.

It also doesn't sound like you wanted to leave, but rather an option suddenly popped up. So the second point also doesn't apply.

I would suggest that in this rare case, taking the counter-offer is not a bad tactic. I would furthermore suggest that contacting them now about the counteroffer and explaining why is also not a bad tactic. This will show that you didn't just stay for more money, but because you didn't want to leave the company. I don't feel like this will put you in a bad position.

Make sure first however, that you can in fact cancel the new contract (Most places you can, but do verify first).

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