My employer is reorganising the department I'm working for. This came as a surprise to everyone including me. They'll be shuttering an entire line of business, which I am part of, but are focussing the lay-offs in the main site of operations for this LOB. Our smallish team is in a satellite office, unaffected by the lay-offs, even though we have been in the same LOB. The management team is looking to keep us on board to pivot the product we are working on.

They broke the news really just moments after I verbally agreed to take another job. I agreed on the package and we have a date set for signing the contract next week.

However, this reorganisation also brings a new piece of information that I can't possibly ignore: I will be entitled to a generous retention plan. I don't have it on paper just yet, but I expect it to be very sizeable.

I'm not sure what to do with this new information. I've been disillusioned with the strategy this company has been taking, so I was very keen on starting a new job. This job would offer me to change roles into something else entirely, it would have been a welcome change of pace. The big bag of money calls all of that into doubt of course. It can't buy happiness, but I'm at a junction in my life where this kind of money is very welcome.

I'm not sure what to do right now or what would be a good way forward. Do I inform the company that I got offered a retention bonus? Won't they think it's a ruse to get them to offer me some money? Or do I bite the bullet and risk missing out on a ton of money? I'm not sure about anything.

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    So they didn't even specify how big of a bonus yet? Besides not putting it to paper. Jun 11, 2020 at 15:07
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    Is the current company strategy the only reason that you were planning on leaving? If the reason is partly monetary, how much more money would you be making at the new company?
    – sf02
    Jun 11, 2020 at 15:10
  • @sf02 I would be earning a bit more, nothing earth shattering, just a nice incremental increase. What attracts me to the job more than the money is the fact that I'd get the opportunity to get real hands on experience doing something else completely. Jun 11, 2020 at 15:24
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    @vsthesquares So 2 months salary bonus vs doing something taht excites you? We cannot make the decisions for you, but this one seems pretty obvious. Jun 11, 2020 at 15:28
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    Hmm, just wait for the "due to the current economic climate we have had to cancel the retention plan for the foreseeable future". That is why the proverb " a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" is so relevant.
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 11, 2020 at 15:58

2 Answers 2


They'll be shuttering an entire line of business ... I've been disillusioned with the strategy this company has been taking

Those are red flags for the business you're at.

This job would offer me to change roles into something else entirely, it would have been a welcome change of pace.

It seems like you had already made your decision, and that this would be good for your career. So unless the amount of money offered is career altering, then I would stick with your decision. If you're leaning that direction, then I don't think there's too much to be gained, and perhaps something to be lost (i.e., their view of you as being enthusiastic), it you try to use the bonus to negotiate for more money at the new company.

BUT if you were leaning towards staying with your company then I would recommend two things: Get the retention bonus in writing ASAP, then inform the other company. It's possible the new company doesn't believe you, but it's the truth. It would still be worth the small amount of effort to use it to negotiate for more money. It could be possible that you get the $ you want and the job you want.

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    I agree with the majority of this answer, except for the advice to inform the new company. It smells funny to me to negotiate a new offer, then to come back two days later asking for more money; I think it could sour the deal.
    – spuck
    Jun 11, 2020 at 16:18
  • Thanks for offering this frame of reference, I think it proved valuable. The retention bonus won't be life changing in any way, and my new job will offer me a much shorter line of sight and hence much improved career possibilities and ditto earnings. Appreciated! Jun 11, 2020 at 18:13
  • I agree with @spuck -- telling the new company about the bonus has the risk of souring the deal, which is why I'd only recommend it if you were leaning towards staying. It's just a shot in the dark.
    – Luke
    Jun 12, 2020 at 13:56

Having made a verbal contract with a new employer, you should now proceed to honor that contract.

  • Reading the questions on this site, I get the impression, people permanently don't start new jobs, they just negotiated. Jun 11, 2020 at 19:50
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    Let's say I agreed to (1) the offer they made, and to (2) set a date for signing the contract. This is a nonbinding agreement, legally speaking. Not saying it would be proper conduct to reconsider at this point, but there is no contract to honour. Jun 12, 2020 at 0:28
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    I know of people who have had their job offers rescinded due to economic impact of Covid-19. Companies will always do what's right for the business, even if it's not "honorable". Employees should likewise look out for what's in their best interest.
    – Luke
    Jun 12, 2020 at 14:04

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