Should I Stay Or Should I Go? (What to do when faced with a counter-offer)


You’ve been offered an interesting job with a great company. You like the people, the opportunity sounds exciting, and you can see yourself making an impact there. 

You psyche yourself up for the 'awkward resignation conversation', and despite the pre-nerves, it's now done. You've resigned. All is good except for one thing...

They don't want you to leave.

"Give us a couple of days to come back with something..."

Indeed they do, whether it's more money or a different job title, they're doing their very best to encourage you to stay!

So now you find yourself in this 'should I stay or should I go' scenario consuming all of your time and headspace. You feel the pressure to make the right decision, especially as you know both companies are waiting on you for an answer, and before you know it, you're into analysis paralysis mode. 

This article aims to help you navigate your way through this process so that you can do so with more clarity and peace of mind. 

When you're faced with a decision about your next career move, there's no doubt it gets lumped into the Big Life Decisions camp right up there with - where to live, who to marry, and whether to have kids!

And because it feels like such a big deal, it can seem there's a lot at stake if you get it wrong. You may have attached a lot of meaning to what will happen if you get it right, and what will happen if you get it wrong. 

But here’s the reality.

The right answer doesn't exist. Why? Because the future hasn’t happened yet, and so there is no such thing as a right answer waiting in the wings of this thing called future because...well the future hasn’t happened yet.

And so striving to make the right decision in advance of knowing exactly how it will work out, is a losing game. No wonder it leads us to analysis paralysis because we’re waiting for something that simply doesn’t exist.

So if making the right decision doesn’t exist, where does that leave you? Well, instead what you can aim for is to make a good decision, with the added comfort that whatever happens, you'll deal with it.  

How to make a good decision

Answer these two self-coaching questions:

  1. By saying yes to (staying where I am), I am saying no to________________
  2. By saying no to (staying where I am), I am saying yes to_________________

List as many outcomes as come to mind. Once you’ve come to a natural end, review your answers; you may find that seeing it on paper gives you more clarity. 

What's stopping you?

The chances are, underneath that busy mind, you probably do already know which direction you want to go. Most people often do. We seem to have this innate navigation system that knows what it wants and tends to point us in the right direction. For example, there's a reason you took that call from the headhunter or felt drawn to apply for that job you spotted on LinkedIn.

It made good common sense to you. 

So if we all have the capacity to make good common sense decisions, what is it that gets in the way of following our internal sat nav? 

Thought. Or rather overthinking it! 

- What if I join and they find out I'm actually no good at this job?

- What if I join and hate it?

- What if no one likes me?

- I feel bad leaving my team in the lurch like this, maybe I should stay?

Thought is compelling and very powerful, and thanks to our incredible human operating system, we are designed as such that whatever we think, appears real. That's right. Whatever we think looks and feels real. 

So for e.g. if you're having thoughts about doing a rubbish job, and no one liking you, that will feel like a reality to you (even though the future hasn't happened yet). 

It helps to remember that just because you think something doesn't make it true. That's worth reading again. Just because you think something, doesn't make it true.

It also helps to remember that as human beings, we don’t always get it right, and things don't always run perfectly. That’s OK. Think of all the mistakes you’ve made in your life up to now. You survived, the world didn’t end, and they are probably the times you look back on as your most resilient.

So don’t let future fears of 'what if' stop you from taking the next step. 

Sarah Swanton is a Mindset & Wellbeing Coach and the Co-Founder of 808 Talent - a Recruitment, Consulting, and Coaching company serving the global Sports Media Technology community in finding, retaining and nurturing the very best talent across the industry. You may be interested to know that Sarah offers First 100 Days Coaching packages. This is for professionals who are starting in a new position, or company and would like some regular support to help them navigate the challenges of their new role with clarity, resilience, and peace of mind. 

For more information go to or email Sarah on