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Most executives agree that the days of the gold watch for 25 years of faithful service are gone. In fact, experience at several good companies is considered an asset because your horizons are expanded. Today, changing jobs is a necessity if you expect your career to grow.
You are considering a change because your present position and/or company doesn't offer the potential for growth you seek. You have looked at your decision to change both logically and emotionally, and it's the emotional decision that is the hardest. That old axiom, "don't let your heart rule your mind" is much easier to say than do. But the fact remains, your needs are not being satisfied! Sure, the company has helped you progress professionally; sure, you've made many new friends; sure, you even feel comfortable because you can handle the job well. However, as certain as you're reading this, your objectives and goals are secondary to those of the company, and it will always remain that way. As soon as you thought about changing jobs, subconsciously you knew this was true.
A counter-offer can be a very flattering experience: your emotions may be swayed; you may lose your objectivity; you are going to be tempted to stay; "buyer's remorse" will set in--that apprehension of change will urge you to reconsider your decision.
As a professional, your career decisions must be made objectively, free of the emotional pressures you are likely to experience. Others will try to influence you, but sometimes only you know things are not right and will not get better. How do you explain a "gut feeling?" Are you expecting your company to be sorry to see you leave and to make some attempt to keep you. Their response should be considered flattering, but it's filled with pitfalls too numerous to risk.
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