I just want to note that I am not in this position now but I have been in the past and I wasn't sure what the correct course of action was.

I am wondering what someone should do if they are negotiating an offer to work for another company and at the same time their boss offers them a raise. They are very likely to accept the offer from the other company but there is a slight chance that it could fall through. Should they tell the boss that they are declining the offer because they are going to move to another company? Or should they just accept the offer and then leave when the new job is finalized? I feel like the answer would be that you should accept the raise because you should get what you deserve. But if that is true, wouldn't you run the risk of burning bridges if your boss finds out that you are leaving right after you get the raise? On the other hand, if you tell the truth, the offer could fall through and then you have to live with the awkwardness of staying.

  • 1
    "act exactly as if you're staying until you definitely aren't, then quit" - the answer to this genre of question.
    – Nathan
    Feb 25, 2017 at 23:23
  • Some companies will pay out unused vacation time. If given the raise, that would then be at the higher rate.
    – mikeazo
    Jun 2, 2017 at 20:18

3 Answers 3


Don't say anything.

Because, a) the raise is not a "thank you for all the hard work you'll be doing next year". You earned the raise already. And b)

the offer could fall through

exactly. Until you know you have another job, continue everything of your previous one like before. Working, getting raises, etc.etc.

And to start with, what will your boss think if you decline a raise? Whatever reason he/she guesses, it won't be positive.

  • Thank you for your answer. And I actually meant to say that they should decline AND say that they are leaving. Feb 24, 2017 at 22:53
  • 1
    @KodosJohnson Furthermore, maybe the boss noticed you were on the point to leave. Usually salsary isn't the only reason why we leave, so a raise don't mean a lot.
    – Walfrat
    Feb 26, 2017 at 20:06
  • 1
    Never, ever, say that you're leaving until you have a contract in hand.
    – Jonast92
    Feb 27, 2017 at 15:44

I don't see any reason why you would ever turn down a raise unless it also comes with a different title or responsibilities. In the latter case it might make sense to turn it down because you wouldn't want them to spend time/resources training you only to have you leave a couple weeks later.

However, if it's just a raise by itself then you should absolutely accept even if it doesn't result in any additional pay (you leave before it takes effect).


In almost all cases, you don't let anyone know and you don't give any indication that you are looking for a job elsewhere.

What would you do if you are offered a raise and you are not looking for a job? You would say "thank you very much for this excellent raise" and take it. So what would you do if you are offered a raise and you are looking for another job? Exactly the same thing. You say "thank you very much for this excellent raise" and take it.

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