I've worked at a US software startup for 2.5 years. In that time I've been promoted and given consistently positive feedback for my work. The raise that came with the promotion puts me just ahead of inflation since my start date. I've repeatedly asked for raises, whether in cash or equity, only to be told it can't be done. We're a cash strapped startup so I believe that, but I know I'm not one of the top paid people, and there have been people who quit, so there should be some wiggle room. When my salary was reduced by 30% for furlough, I finally started applying for better paying jobs.
If I get an offer that I like, I want to leverage it into a counter offer from my current employer, since I really do like my coworkers and our mission, and switching jobs is a pain. Since we're in furlough though, I know my chance of getting a raise is even lower, but could I expect a written promise (not legally binding) of a raise in the future? Or some equity? Some other type of guarantee?
Essentially I want to give them a chance to make a counter offer, w/o giving an ultimatum they can't fulfill (asking for more money than they have). I'm willing to move on if they really have nothing to give me, but hope there's some way I can negotiate a good enough deal to stick around.