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I recently received a much, much bigger offer and a promotion to join another group. I've been dissatisfied with my current job because the leadership has been fickle and irresponsible. However, I feel fairly confident in my current work quality and enjoy my colleagues personally, whereas joining a new group brings a lot of unknowns... the devil you know versus the one you don't. As it stands, I would rather move than stay unless my current job offered a match.

Prior to this offer, I considered bargaining for a promotion. I asked my supervisor for the job description for the next-level role, it called for a substantial experience level in the field (12+ years and postgraduate degree) relative to JD for my role (4+ years and postgraduate degree). It seemed like complete shutdown denial.

When I put in notice to my supervisor, she asked what can she do to retain me. She assured me that she could make a competitive counter, that my performance is favorable, and that she's fixated on promoting within. When I quoted the salary for the offer, she immediately said "no" because such a bump "wouldn't be fair". However, my group is 5 people, and two people recently departed at high, high levels, collectively with over 35 years' experience, so I have trouble believing there's budget shortfall, and the group is critically understaffed. When I asked whether I'd be considered for the promotion and whether the salary expectations align, she said she'd get back to me, that was over a week ago and there's radio silence.

Out of morbid curiosity, I saw they posted an opening for the next level role, and the experience level has been slashed to 5+ years (as opposed to 12+). My supervisor previously told me they were seeking contract help for this role, so I didn't even think to look.

I feel very confused and frustrated by this process and lack of communication. Is there anything missing or unclear from my approach? Am I right to perceive the response as totally contradictory and worrisome?

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  • So are you currently serving your Notice Period? When does it end and, thus, when do you start the new job/role?
    – DarkCygnus
    Jul 25, 2022 at 21:20
  • @DarkCygnus I proposed an end date of Aug 12 two weeks ago - she hasn't accepted or proposed any differently yet. New role would start Sept 6. IMO time is ticking.
    – AdamO
    Jul 25, 2022 at 21:22
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    Time to pick up the phone and call her to follow up. You already gave notice, it won't be professional to leave you hanging (I'm not a lawyer but nor do I believe it is legal). Please include your location to consider it for any answer
    – DarkCygnus
    Jul 25, 2022 at 21:29
  • Sure. Location is the US.
    – AdamO
    Jul 25, 2022 at 21:39
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    If you're in the United States and working at-will then your manager doesn't have to accept your end date, she just needs to know when it is.
    – BSMP
    Jul 26, 2022 at 0:59

3 Answers 3

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Is there anything missing or unclear from my approach?

If you want to communicate, then communicate. Schedule a meeting or a phone call and ask for status update.

Am I right to perceive the response as totally contradictory and worrisome?

What's there to worry about? You have a new job and resigned. That's your Plan A and that's what you should focus on. If your current boss wants to counter offer, that's their problem not yours. You can just simply ignore it, until an actual offer shows up or the clock runs out.

Counter offers rarely work.

  • You have resigned for a reason and that reason will not magically go away. If management is "fickle and irresponsible", they are not going to change just for you.

  • Most counter offers are just knee jerk reactions. Your boss doesn't want you to leave so they promise you something just to keep you in the game.

  • It's unlikely that your boss can put a competitive offer together that works for both parties.

  • Even if they do, it's awkward: It just rubs in that you were underpaid for a long time and your boss probably feels that you will be overpaid going forward. You may be able to get squeeze a raise and a promotion out of this, but this will likely be your last raise and promotion for a very long time.

  • If you have already accepted the offer from the new employer, you would have to rescind your acceptance, i.e. go back on your word. Many people would consider this unprofessional and would try to avoid that.

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    This is sound reasoning. I've only had two roles where I would have entertained a counteroffer, each time (including this one) I was disappointed by the half-hearted/non-attempt to retain. On the employee side, I simply don't know what to expect, and so when the response to my resignation is simply "oh let's see what we can do for you ... nothing!" It's overall very confusing.
    – AdamO
    Jul 26, 2022 at 5:16
  • You have to look at it from the side of the manager as well. There are often constraints that you an employee are not aware of: budget, compensation policy or strategy. fairness, & parity, availability of roles changes and promotions, etc. Working around these often takes time and jumping over corporate hurdles.
    – Hilmar
    Jul 27, 2022 at 11:26
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I would suggest that you move on to the new group and save yourself lots of headache and drama. Leave the old group and forget all about it.

"As it stands, I would rather move...". Then, please move. This is the best option, and you like it.

The rest of your message/question is not relevant because why should you be concerned about anything else when the old group will just give you more headache as you wrote "I feel very confused and frustrated by this process" ? It's not worth it to keep thinking about the old group, and what could have been.

Now, it's high time to Move out. Be Done with it.

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Is there anything missing or unclear from my approach?

I read through your question, and I'm not clear what you are looking for. Perhaps that's me, perhaps that's you. The same may be true for your employer.

You indicated the salary you wanted your employer to match. They said "No". That part seems pretty clear.

You also said one of the reasons you want to leave is because "the leadership has been fickle and irresponsible". Clearly, that is still the case.

If you think there's some misunderstanding, or you need an answer soon, talk to your supervisor. Perhaps they think they have plenty of time since you aren't leaving until August 12 and aren't starting your new job until September 6.

Am I right to perceive the response as totally contradictory and worrisome?

I'm not sure I see what would be considered contradictory.

I suggest it's time to move on and put this job behind you.

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