Today’s Careerealism T.A.P. question #382 prompted this post. You can go read the entire question here, but the gist of it is, “I’m underpaid. Should I threaten to leave to see if I can get more money?” Since I can only answer in 140 characters on Twitter, I decided to expand all the things wrong with this tactic here.
This question netted a visceral response from me because of my recruiting background and I don’t like the threat game. Either do it or don’t, but don’t threaten actions to get your way. The list of 10 reasons not to accept counter offers (below) harkens back to my recruiting days. Nothing is worse for a recruiter than a candidate using the recruiter and the hiring company as pawns in a game to get more money from his current employer. Whether a recruiter is in the equation or not, threatening to leave to is NOT a good strategy to extort a higher salary. (Yes. I said extort.)
You took the job at the salary you’re receiving. If it isn’t enough, if the scope has changed, if your contributions to the bottom line aren’t reflected in your compensation, then put together a sound presentation as to why a higher salary is in order. Have an adult conversation with your manager, offering point-by-point solid reasons why more money is warranted. Demonstrate the company’s ROI on their investment in you. If you don’t like the answer, thank him/her for the time and start your search – while still performing top-drawer work at your current employer. For now, they pay your salary. Respect that.
Don’t take a sissy approach, whining into your manager’s office saying, “Everyone else is making more money than me. It’s not fair. If you don’t give me more money, I’m going to start looking for another job.” (Looks pretty smary in black and white, doesn’t it?) Rather than figuring out ways to cajole a higher salary with groundless threats, put that effort into exhibiting your skills. Or use that energy to launch a job search. Either way, threatening your way into anything is never a good idea.
10 REASONS NOT TO CONSIDER THEM…
1. You made your employer aware you are unhappy. From this day on, your loyalty will always be in question.
2. When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who is loyal and who is not.
3. When times get tough, your employer will begin the cutbacks with you.
4. Accepting a counteroffer (or a threat-based raise) is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride: you were bought.
5. Where is the money coming from? All companies have wage and salary guidelines that must be followed. Is it your next raise early?
6. Your company will immediately start looking for a new person at a cheaper price.
7. The same circumstance now causing your dissatisfaction will repeat in the future, even if you accept a counteroffer or get the raise you “forced”.
8. Statistics show if you accept a counteroffer, the probability of voluntarily leaving in six months or being let go in one year is extremely high.
9. Once word gets out you bullied your way into a raise (and it will), the relationship that you now enjoy with your co-workers will never be the same. You will lose the personal satisfaction of peer group acceptance.
10. What type of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you’re worth????