#NeverTrustTheCarrot

As @geoarchandlush noted in Aaaaand We’re Back!, I recently relocated back to the Kansas City area. Like all cross country moves, there’s a story (or, in this case, several stories).

About a year ago, I started planning to leave my job as an environmental consultant. I had discussed career paths with my boss, shown him evidence that I was paid below market and productivity-based value metrics. These conversations progressed into discussions of the constant violations of my contractual obligations and the uncompensated long hours. Given no changes, I decided to start looking for a new job. Soon enough, I found the next step in my career and it was time to prepare for my resignation. In spite of wanting to deliver an “I quit” cake and walk out in a blaze of glory, I wrote a positively toned letter addressed to my direct supervisor.

Despite failing to deliver a promised raise two weeks before (during my very late performance review), my boss countered with an offer to double my salary. Obviously, I declined, as I had decided to do before I even entered the conversation. With many who are close to me, this decision raised some questions.

In my case, though pay was one reason I left my job, it wasn’t the only reason. I declined the counteroffer because more money couldn’t fix the intangibles. The things that made me unhappy about my job wouldn’t simply change because I’d secured another offer. I found the workplace to be toxic, and further, the stall in conversations with my manager (before my job search began) indicated a larger disconnect to me. Simply, as an employee, I want to be able to have transparent and constructive dialogues about career growth and, instead, all I was getting was a dangling carrot, always just out of reach. Aside from these reasons, I knew that, by seeking other competitive offers, I had created some distrust for the other side, just as I had come to distrust the carrot.

And so, by the time I delivered my resignation, I had already begun packing to move and had signed my contract for my new position. No counteroffer could move me because I was certain about why I wanted to leave, and no additional benefits could remedy those reasons. In brief, resignation is like any negotiation. Before you show your cards, it’s important to know exactly what you hope to achieve and why.

Yours in Lady Geoscience,

Mackenzie

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