I work in a startup as a team lead, and I resigned yesterday after having accepted an offer somewhere else.

My reasons for leaving were the following :

1) The codebase I inherited a year ago is a mess and I've never been given the OK to rewrite/refactor the problematic sections. Instead, we are asked to add more and more features to improve retention or that is needed for some demos, etc. The problem is that we then need to work long hours to fix crashes and bugs because, supposedly, stability is our #1 priority.

2) Our CEO, while a very talented businessman, is very bad at managing people. One day he can be very cool and excited while the next day he will pass his stress on everyone and throw tantrums in his office. While I can understand that we are working in a stressful environment, being a startup and wanting to succeed, I also think that respect is paramount in an office environment.

So, this morning, he grabbed me for a coffee and told me he couldn't sleep last night because he was thinking about my resignation. He offered me a pretty substantial raise, even though I told him I would make less at my new place and that money was not the issue. He also said he would hire another member for my team and give me a couple months to refactor everything which my team considers painful. He also said he knows he can be a difficult person to deal with and that he knows he should not come see us when he is stressed. To remedy this, he says one of our board member is slowly transitioning to lead the I.T. operations and that he could maybe transition our team to him sooner.

So, the gist of my question is, should I consider this offer? My feeling is that he is a very emotive guy (explains is tantrums) and that either he is scared of having to find a replacement in 4 weeks or he genuinely understands my reasons for wanting to leave and hopes he can fix them.

My fears are that things won't really change in the long run, I tend to think that once a culture is instilled in a company, it is very hard to change. Also, I fear he will always resent me for having resigned and that this may impact my relation with him and the company in the future.

I'm also keeping in mind that I would have to tell the other company that I changed my mind after having accepted their offer.

What do you think? In any case I told him I'd sleep on it and take some time to think about it.

closed as off-topic by Justin Cave, CMW, IDrinkandIKnowThings, jmac, Jim G. Mar 19 '14 at 4:37

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  • 12
    This has the feel of an abusive-relationship-should-I-give-him-another-chance question. – Eric Wilson Mar 18 '14 at 20:16
  • Option A) accept the raise knowing nothing will change and pocket the money to pay down loans or plan for a vacation. Option B) Thank him for the offer and move to the new company knowing knowing what it will do for your stress level and satisfaction. Someone posted on a similar question before a statistic about how often people move on after a short period when they accept a counter offer. – Dopeybob435 Mar 18 '14 at 20:45
  • @Bob: Read my answer here, might be helpful workplace.stackexchange.com/a/20638/17322 – Thalaivar Mar 18 '14 at 20:49
  • @EricWilson - I do not disagree, but then again it could also be a real attempt to make things better. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 18 '14 at 22:16
  • 1
    Hey Bob, and welcome to The Workplace! As explained in our help center, questions asking for career advice aren't the best fit for our site. If you could edit your question to deal with "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face" you will get better answers. Thanks in advance! – jmac Mar 19 '14 at 0:08

should I consider this offer?

Of course, you should consider every offer carefully. You owe that to yourself.

But you gave two compelling reasons for wanting to leave. You have to be honest with yourself and decide if you think those reasons will go away just because of more money and one "emotive" conversation with the CEO.

My fears are that things won't really change in the long run

I'm a strong believer in looking inward for an answer, going with it, and then not looking back.

Your fears (and perhaps your gut) are telling you not to accept this counter-offer. I tend to agree that situations seldom change for the better this abruptly, unless the people at the source of the problem are removed.

But we cannot answer "which job should I take?" questions here. Only you can provide that answer. Only you can weigh the options and decide what is best for you.

  • Great answer by Joe. I'd like to add one thing - this doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing decision. Depending on the market and how damaging it would be to you to tell the other company you are now staying (is it a fairly small industry, will it affect you getting other jobs or just with them, are they a big player?) you always have the option of taking the counter offer and setting yourself an internal deadline. If a condition of accepting the counter offer is to sign something that says you will repay/forfeit things if you leave within x months, then I would see that as a huge alarm bell. – Mike Mar 19 '14 at 14:33

If the head of the company commits* to fixing the thing that caused you to leave; and had it not been for that problem, you'd otherwise stay and believe in your long-term success there, then you should strongly consider staying.

But it sounds like you doubt the long-term success anyway. You say you suspect this is a cultural problem. If that's the case, you're right that culture cannot be fixed overnight and even if they are committed to ultimately improving, you'll have to ride out a long period where it's not much better, if at all. Years, potentially.

*Commits: they need to provide you with a tangible plan of action, written, with hard dates, as well as confirmation from the other people involved in the solution.

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