A reader writes:
Last summer, I was torn between two jobs: my job at the time and a new position with another company. Both managers competed against each other’s offer for about a week for my employment. I finally accepted the new job and gave the other my 2 weeks notice. To my suprise, literally the day before I was to start at the new job, my employer pulled out all the bells and whistles and made me a shocking offer to stay. I was flattered and couldn’t turn it down. Unfortunately, this meant that I had to decline the new job literally the morning I was to start with them. I couldn’t get ahold of the manager and so I left a message with the answering service and sent her a very long email explaining the situation with a wholehearted appology for the way it happened. I had asked her to respond but she didn’t.
Long story short, I now realize I made the wrong decision. I should have gone with the new job. What should I say in an attempt to regain the new job offer? Should I do it in person, by email or phone?
Here is a copy of what I was thinking of saying. “Last summer, I was honored with an invitation to join your staff. Unfortunately, the company I was with at the time enticed me to stay on with them at the last minute and I declined your offer. When they presented me with an offer full of bells and whistles, I lost sight of my goals. What you had offered to me was more in line with what I was actually seeking. I wholeheartedly regret this decision and I humbly apologize for not handling it more gracefully with you. It has been a learning lesson I will be sure not to repeat. Over the course of this past year, it has become clear that I made the wrong choice in turning down your offer for employment. If you are still looking for additional employees and would consider giving me a second chance as a candidate, I would be delighted to speak with you about this.”
This is why you never take a counter-offer from your current employer. Whatever the problems were that sent you looking for a new job in the first place, they’re still going to be there once the glow from your raise wears off. (And if the original problem was just money, what are you going to do the next time you want a raise? Threaten to leave all over again?)
In any case, it’s very unlikely that the other employer is going to consider you again. You reneged on your acceptance of their offer on the morning you were supposed to start working for them. In their eyes, you’re flaky and unreliable, and you’re a high risk for bailing prematurely again. What incentive do they have for considering you again, in a sea of well-qualified candidates? That bridge is burnt.
If you want to leave your current job, start a new search. And don’t leave the door open for counter-offers from your current employer.