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  • Counter-Offer

    This year the company I work for made record profits, in an improving economy. How did they made record profits, well from a lowly employees perspective, it is by cutting costs. For example, performance pay. I don't think I was overpaid last year, but this year, despite the record profits my performance bonus was a couple thousand dollars less.

    About a week later, I get a cold call from a recruiter, and I actually talk to him (as opposed to normally when I say no). Fast forward a month, after interviewing with three different financial firms, I've accepted an offer with a high-frequency trading startup [basically it is a very technology focused hedge fund]. It comes with a raise of 30%, but there is a pretty large upside potential when you work in the financial industry (at the same time there is a degree of risk given that most startups fail).

    A month later [last Friday], I pass the IQ and personality tests, and resign from the company I work for. Yesterday, I get a counter-off from my VP which is a 18.5% raise, and a $50,000 retention bonus over the next two years. It comes out to pretty much the same as the hedge fund's offer. It is definitely a good offer, and if the company was compensating me like this in the beginning I never would have quit in the first place. I guess the calculation is that most people won't get dissolutioned and find another job, so this is cheaper than the couple thousand per employee they saved across the board. In addition to the money, I can get off the current death march project that I'm on. Before I quit, I were "frozen" and couldn't find another job within the company, because everyone is essential on the project. Now I have like three choices of where to work. Combined with constant threads of project cancellation and/or firing, severe project mismanagement, the environment I am in is quite negative

    I think I'm going to turn it down, because at this point I'm pretty excited about my new job; and don't think I'll have many opportunities (if even one more) to get in this early at such an early stage at a well capitalized startup. It is also harder to get a job in finance than where I work now, particularly since I have a degree from a state school. Out of the three interviews, only one was successful.

    The thing that makes the decision hard is that the new job requires a commute to Manhattan which will suck up between 2.5 and 3 hours a day. My existing job is only about an hour a day of commute (if you exclude dropping off the kids at their preschool near work, which brings it to 2 hrs).
    Last edited by cpw; 05-06-2011, 06:09 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Counter-Offer

    When I dread going to work is when I am done. I can not stand a negative environment.
    Sometimes change is good for the soul.
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    • #3
      Re: Counter-Offer

      charles, sounds like a good move. but like any new job especially with a start up company, you need to have money saved for a good 6 months in case the company folds.

      i think the drive will be the worst and that could be a deal breaker.

      donald owes me a lot of money on 1 of his folded casinos. maybe i can see if he's willing to pick you up in the trump1 copter.


      good luck in whatever you pursue.

      rick.
      phoebe it is

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Counter-Offer

        Originally posted by Gene Bickford View Post
        When I dread going to work is when I am done. I can not stand a negative environment.
        Sometimes change is good for the soul.
        Thanks for reading and replying Gene. I've managed to guarantee myself change, now it just comes down to figuring out what the right change is. I am thankful to have such problems. Having to choose between 2-3 jobs is a good position to be in, especially when I know a lot of people are having trouble with just one. It still doesn't make it easier today.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Counter-Offer

          I was thinking about you yesterday, I drove by your house on my way from a job. Glad to hear everything is going well amd good luck with everything!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Counter-Offer

            Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
            charles, sounds like a good move. but like any new job especially with a start up company, you need to have money saved for a good 6 months in case the company folds.

            i think the drive will be the worst and that could be a deal breaker.

            donald owes me a lot of money on 1 of his folded casinos. maybe i can see if he's willing to pick you up in the trump1 copter.


            good luck in whatever you pursue.

            rick.
            Thanks Rick. One of the nice things about the commute is that most of it is on the train (Metro-North), so I will be able to read or sleep or something. Its just more time away from my family.

            My wife and I have enough savings and expenses that we can cut that we would be OK for a few months. One of the things that is good about this startup is that in the mean time I'll be getting paid really well, and there is enough money that I won't need to worry about them making payroll. Its risky, but not crazy.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Counter-Offer

              This makes sense with the direction of our business culture.
              Employer loyalty is near non existant in comparison to tweny years ago.
              Employees know this and are taking their valuable commodity of skill and dilligence to the highest bidder.Basically putting their future/retirement back in their own hands.Cause they know when they slow down and are not as fast as the new kid they are done and left on the street after they have put many others in the lap of luxury.

              Congratulations on positioning yourself accordingly Charles
              Adam

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              • #8
                Re: Counter-Offer

                As an employee, I don't change jobs for money. For the most part, when you look at the real impact of a salary bump after taxes, even a sizable bump doesn't amount to a hill of beans in terms of changing your lifestyle. Plus, it's all a game. A new employer will give you more now, but after a few years it's amazing how pay tends to all settle out to about the same rate as your profession commands in that area. So I think that a decision to change jobs has to be based on other advantages that the job offers, growth potential or opportunity to expand your skill base being (to me) the most important.

                As for counteroffers, I respectfully decline to even look at them. A company will prefer to give a counteroffer and retain a proven employee because it is very costly to recruit and hire a replacement, and typically the new guy's productivity takes a while to reach the level of the guy that left. So some companies prefer to throw a little money at someone to keep them. There are two problems with this. First, experience shows that even if a counteroffer is successful, the employee is likely to leave shortly thereafter anyway. This is probably why they're spreading your bonus over two years. The counteroffer is in their interest, not a sudden realization that have failed to treat you properly. The second probelm with counteroffers is that no company can allow the overall salary structure to get out of whack, or they will end up with lots of other employee problems and departures. So again, they may give you a salary bump but, just like the new company's attractive offer, over a few years your pay will settle down to about what it would have been anyway. Many companys won't even play the counteroffer game for these reasons. AS a manager, I have very seldom recommended a counteroffer to an employee that has decided to move on. Once an employee has made an emotional shift to the new employer, they are in my view already gone.

                Another important consideration in counteroffers is that, as you pointed out, the company is only reacting to your decision. They didn't take care of you in the course of normal business, so as I see it there's no reason to think they will start taking care of you in the future. If anything, you may create some resentment that will be hard to overcome.

                The long drive with the new job would be a big consideration to me. It's more important to your quality of life than a few bucks that after taxes won't matter much. But I'm sure you've looked at that. With a startup, I am always concerned to evaluate their business strategy. In this day and age, a startup must offer something unique and compelling in order to have a chance. Startups tend to demand long hours and unless they're the exception, funding may be tight for a while. But again you're very detailed and methodical in your approach so I'm sure you've done your due diligence.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Counter-Offer

                  Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                  This makes sense with the direction of our business culture.
                  Employer loyalty is near non existant in comparison to tweny years ago.
                  Employees know this and are taking their valuable commodity of skill and dilligence to the highest bidder.Basically putting their future/retirement back in their own hands.Cause they know when they slow down and are not as fast as the new kid they are done and left on the street after they have put many others in the lap of luxury.

                  Congratulations on positioning yourself accordingly Charles
                  Adam
                  Adam,

                  Thanks for the kind words. I do think it is a poor reflection on today's companies that so many of them have such short-sighted goals. Employee retention and loyalty can indeed create real value over the long term. When executives only think of the next quarter, it is bound to have negative results. I'm hoping that since the company I am moving to is a smaller firm, with the managing partners putting their own money on the line, and not having to report every quarter they'll take a longer term view on value. Based on the past, I expect that they will. They had another startup that they ran for 18 years, before selling it to Citi for $680 million; so they are willing to be patient to capture the value from something.

                  Charles

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                  • #10
                    Re: Counter-Offer

                    Thanks Andy. I tend to agree with you that once you've taken another offer you're already gone. I almost think that once you've decided to interview you're already mostly gone, and it is likely that you've mentally checked out already.

                    I did seriously consider the offer, but my old manager gave me some really good advice when I talked to him this morning. Think about the decision that you're going to make. Tell someone that you've made it (not the "important party"), and then see how you feel about it. I did that at lunch, and said I was rejecting the offer; and laid out my reasons. I felt really good about it, and I think that helped me realize that it was the right thing.

                    I hope the train will be an OK time for me. I know a lot of people do it, and thankfully we have one of the best commuter rail systems available, and the new job is only a 5 block walk from Grand Central Terminal.

                    That the big bureaucratic company I work for was willing to almost match the money (in the first year) did allow me to consider things aside from money in the equation. But, the executives freely admit they can't compete with financial firms over the long haul. It is a reasonable assumption that if things to well, my total compensation will double or more within a couple of years. I think the big difference here is that a financial firm is willing to find the "tail" of the distribution [e.g. 2 out of 3 firms I interviewed with did an IQ test, and I only passed one - though I tell myself that I failed the less clinically valid one], and they pay accordingly. Most other technology places are set up to get slightly above average people and pay them within the same range.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Counter-Offer

                      Don't put much stock in an IQ test.

                      I've been given one or two.

                      Just gotta' say though, isn't it exciting to be going after something new. I salute you for being willing to make a change rather than be a cog in the wheel.

                      Congratulations.


                      J.C.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Counter-Offer

                        Originally posted by cpw View Post
                        This year the company I work for made record profits, in an improving economy. How did they made record profits, well from a lowly employees perspective, it is by cutting costs. For example, performance pay. I don't think I was overpaid last year, but this year, despite the record profits my performance bonus was a couple thousand dollars less.

                        About a week later, I get a cold call from a recruiter, and I actually talk to him (as opposed to normally when I say no). Fast forward a month, after interviewing with three different financial firms, I've accepted an offer with a high-frequency trading startup [basically it is a very technology focused hedge fund]. It comes with a raise of 30%, but there is a pretty large upside potential when you work in the financial industry (at the same time there is a degree of risk given that most startups fail).

                        A month later [last Friday], I pass the IQ and personality tests, and resign from the company I work for. Yesterday, I get a counter-off from my VP which is a 18.5% raise, and a $50,000 retention bonus over the next two years. It comes out to pretty much the same as the hedge fund's offer. It is definitely a good offer, and if the company was compensating me like this in the beginning I never would have quit in the first place. I guess the calculation is that most people won't get dissolutioned and find another job, so this is cheaper than the couple thousand per employee they saved across the board. In addition to the money, I can get off the current death march project that I'm on. Before I quit, I were "frozen" and couldn't find another job within the company, because everyone is essential on the project. Now I have like three choices of where to work. Combined with constant threads of project cancellation and/or firing, severe project mismanagement, the environment I am in is quite negative

                        I think I'm going to turn it down, because at this point I'm pretty excited about my new job; and don't think I'll have many opportunities (if even one more) to get in this early at such an early stage at a well capitalized startup. It is also harder to get a job in finance than where I work now, particularly since I have a degree from a state school. Out of the three interviews, only one was successful.

                        The thing that makes the decision hard is that the new job requires a commute to Manhattan which will suck up between 2.5 and 3 hours a day. My existing job is only about an hour a day of commute (if you exclude dropping off the kids at their preschool near work, which brings it to 2 hrs).
                        Thank God My wife had the courage to leave Lucas film and take a chance with this Young Kid Steve Jobs!
                        It was also a startup [ Pixar] They went public and shared the wealth! Have courage!
                        She did. Good luck! Kevin
                        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Counter-Offer

                          Congratulation on the courage of your moving on to the new job!

                          I can only speak of my own experience of course, but I'm a guy who believes in loyalty and I'm not much of a gambler. A lot had to do with the fact that I have no college degree and my work has always been in a "Bachelors" or better position. (Personally, I think such qualification parameters are real "head-up-your-butt" thinking... but hey, I'm looking at it from my no-degree position.)

                          But to my story, I lost my job in 2003. At the time, I was part of a Marketing Communication's team that was being centralized. Long story, short... I was let go because I had no degree and therefore was no longer "qualified". Of course it didn't matter that I was the only team member that had real experience and could execute any level of the projects. But my Division knew and appreciated my capabilities and they kept me in a temp "contractor" position for three more years, with the promise that they were going to correct their error and make me "permanent" again.

                          Much of that was my more-than-willingness to "stay the course"... I liked what I was doing, where I was doing it, and the people that I was priviledged to work with. And, I was loyal to my "friends" in management who seemingly appreciated my abilities and kept telling me that they were going to "get me back". In the end, the promise never happened and on legal protest, I was dismissed promptly and without any respect.

                          Bottom line is that "promise", "loyalty", and "respect" are nothing to those who write your paycheck. As long as they get everything they want, with the least amount of effort on their part, then you'll have a job and they'll be happier than hell. Your loyalty, your awards and achievements on thier behalf matters very little when it comes to paying you equally. Once they realize that you can no longer be fooled into taking less, you're just so much trash out the door.

                          So go where the money and the potential is. It took me 30 years of "loyalty" to a disrespectful employer before I realized that I was being used just like everybody else. In the end, they lost big time, but I'm left with feeling pretty stupid for my long-time "company man" attitudes. Perhaps in another time, in another company that may have been different. It takes good sense, political awareness, confidence, and guts to see when "moving on" is in your best interest. I wish you great success in your new venture.

                          CWS
                          Last edited by CWSmith; 05-09-2011, 10:47 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Counter-Offer

                            Tool, JC, CWS, Thanks for the kind words. Last Friday I declined the counter-offer. I just felt that if I didn't "go for it" now, I would regret it later. I spent the last week at Disney World with my wife and kids, which is our first real family vacation. I think that the six days without the internet is probably the longest I've gone in six years. It was quite nice not thinking about work at all. I've got one more week, and then start my new job on the 23rd.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Counter-Offer

                              Congrats on Your new venture !
                              I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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