Nearly everyone who has left one company for another has struggled with the ever-alluring proposition known as a counter-offer. It may seem like the best of both worlds, two companies vying to get your attention, but the truth is, it just puts you in a difficult position. Think carefully before accepting your current employer’s counter offer as there could be some serious consequences involved. Here are just a few:

Damaging Current Relationships

There is no doubt your loyalty to your boss and coworkers will come into question after accepting a counter offer from your current company. By telling your employer you’ve either been offered or accepted another position, you’re essentially saying you’ve been unhappy. Even if your company does counter, how can your boss trust that you won’t eventually stray again?

In addition, accepting the offer could prevent you from receiving interesting projects and future promotions because everyone in your office will fear that you will leave soon.

You Accepted the Original Offer for a Reason

It is important to remember that if you’ve accepted an offer from another company, you’ve likely done so after much contemplation and for a variety of reasons. Some may have to do with issues you’re having at your current company, while others may be because you see opportunity at the new company.

Problems for the Potential Employer

Accepting a counter offer from your current employer places the potential employer in a difficult position where they will now likely experience setbacks in filling the open position at their company. The potential employer has invested a significant amount of time, effort, and money into filling the position. If you accept the counter offer, they will likely have to start the process all over again. In addition, in the time you were negotiating with this company, it is likely other candidates who were told that the job was taken have already gone on to something else and are no longer available.

Problems for the Recruiter

The recruiter that was hired by this company is equally out of luck. They have lost face, commission, and client confidence. The financial setback for them is nowhere near as severe as the damage that has been done to their standing in the business. Their sole responsibility is to provide companies with dependable workers, and if rumors abound that an agency cannot deliver, those recruiters could be searching for a new career themselves.

Why Should I Care About the Recruiter and Potential Employer?

Although not immediately obvious to you, there are more short-term consequences than would you think. The National Business Employment Weekly reports that more than four of five people who accept counter-offers end up leaving in the following 12 months whether it is by their own choice or let go. Nevertheless, when beginning your job search again you may find that your reputation precedes you; especially if your career is set in an industry where competitors know one another.

Remember that counter-offers are not really about you. More often than not, your boss is in a panic and his or her first reaction is to devise a plan that will convince you to stay. When you have found a new job, the best thing to do is hand in a written resignation, walk out of the office, and do not look back. Be proud of your decision to improve your career, and embrace all the wonderful qualities of the new company that made you want to work there in the first place – you will not regret it.