I almost left my company, but I ended up leveraging that offer into a raise at my current job, with no ill effects or hard feelings (that I know of).
In December, a friend at a different company (whom I’ve suspected of fishing for referral bonuses for a while) referred me for a senior position at his company. I believe you should always hear someone out when they approach you about changing your material conditions (and daycare for a three-year-old and two twin babies is north of 2k per month), so I had some conversations and eventually ended up with an offer something like 40 percent more than what I make now.
Now, I’m not actually unhappy with my job. I’ve worked at my job for almost twelve years and have a lot of professional cachet built up. I switched teams a few years ago and now I do interesting work and am allowed to pursue different skillsets. And maybe most importantly, we adopted a four-day workweek in September. I could work from home permanently if I wanted (but I think I will go hybrid once the office opens again).
There’s a lot that goes into this kind of decision. Ultimately, I need to make those dollaz, though, for the sake of my family. So I decided I would do whatever put the most money in my pocket at the end of the day. Which was looking like this other offer.
Then I asked my wife, “What’s the downside of taking this offer to my boss before I accept it?”
Looking online, it seems like the only downsides had to do with your perception or reputation - you don’t want to burn a bridge, and this kind of move can do that, depending on how you approach it.
Ultimately, I decided that my relationship with my boss is good enough (he is always an advocate for me and my family) that it was worth a shot. That didn’t stop me from agonizing about it, though.
So, the day before my response was due to New Company, I send my boss an IM: “Hey, are you working from home tomorrow morning? There’s something I want to talk to you about, and I’d prefer to do it in person if we can. Can we meet for coffee out by you?”
He responds: “Are you leaving?”
Sigh. I don’t want him to worry about this overnight, and I don’t want to lie to him. So I say “We should still grab coffee, but can I call you?” He agrees.
So I lay it out for him. I say, look, I have an offer, but I haven’t accepted it. I’m not unhappy, and I wasn’t out looking for jobs. The offer is for more than what I make now, and I’m inclined to take it, but I don’t really want to. If Current Company can’t match the offer, then I don’t feel like I can justify staying, for the sake of my family. If this is a conversation we can have without damaging my reputation with Current Company, then I want to. But I also told him that if he thought this would irreparably color how he or the company view me, then I would rather just leave on good terms.
My boss is very understanding and tells me that he’s legitimately happy for me and my family but to not accept the offer until he can talk to his boss (the CFO). We keep our coffee date.
The next morning, I meet with him, and they come up with an offer that beats the one from New Company. My circumstance forced them to take a hard look at compensation, and they were truthfully not really coming up with the fair market value for me in the first place. They tell me that if New Company counters to let them know first. I say no need to bother, I snap-accept and tell New Company (politely) to kick rocks. So my four-day workweek is preserved, with compensation that allows my kids to stay in daycare.
Just one anecdote, but the takeaway should be that workers have insane amounts of leverage right now. Use it if you can, friends.