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Do You Have to Threaten to Quit Before You’re Paid What You’re Worth?

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

We’ve asked some rather hard-hitting questions in our newsletter during the past couple of months. They include:

  • Is it unethical for recruiters to call candidates at work?
  • Is it illegal for recruiters to poach professionals from employers?

This month, the question that we’re posing is the title of this blog post: “Do you have to threaten to quit before you’re paid what you’re worth?” This is a question that all Animal Health and Veterinary professionals should ask themselves, especially in today’s market, where counteroffers have become more prevalent.

When you pursue another employment opportunity, it’s because that opportunity is better than the job you have right now. In other words, your current job is missing something that you want, and you’re willing to go elsewhere to find it. The something that you want can be divided roughly into two categories:

  1. Money and/or better benefits
  2. Something other than money and/or better benefits

Let’s say that you accept an offer of employment from another Animal Health organization or Veterinary business and submit your resignation to your current employer. Then your boss makes you a counteroffer that includes a substantial pay raise. Now, one of the following two statements applies to your situation:

  1. The reason that you were willing to leave your current employer was something other than money and/or better benefits. So the fact that your boss is making you a counteroffer that involves a pay raise should not affect your decision to leave and start work at another employer.
  2. The reason that you were willing to leave your current employer was money and/or better benefits. So the fact that your boss is making you a counteroffer that involves a pay raise may very well affect your decision to leave and start work at another employer.

However, before you decide to accept a counteroffer, you should ask yourself the question posed in the title of this blog post: “Do I have to threaten to quit before I’m paid what I’m worth?”

When you think about it, giving notice at your employer is more than a threat to quit. It’s a statement of your full intention to quit within a given timeframe, typically two weeks. So in essence, it required something more severe than a threat for your boss to offer you more money. In other words, it took something more severe than a threat for your boss to acknowledge your worth and to pay you what you’re worth.

The bottom line is this: if you have to threaten to quit before you are paid what you’re worth, then you were being taken advantage of by your employer. And if that was the case, then this leads to a series of other, equally challenging questions:

  • Was your employer intentionally underpaying you because management thought they could get away with it?
  • If you accept the counteroffer and stay, is it only a matter of time before your employer takes advantage of you again?
  • If you accept the counteroffer and stay, will your employer only keep you until it can find a replacement for you? A less expensive replacement?
  • If you have to turn in your notice just to get a raise, then is this the type of organization you really want to work for?
  • Will the extra money that you received in your counteroffer be in lieu of your next scheduled raise?
  • If you accept the counteroffer and stay, will your boss and employer now view you with suspicion? Will your loyalty come into question in the future?

I completely understand that changing jobs is a dramatic move in one’s life, one that is often filled with stress. It is certainly tempting, when faced with a counteroffer, to accept it and not have to go through the process of changing jobs. But while it is tempting, you should certainly not give in to that temptation. In addition to complicating your current employment situation going forward (see the questions posed above), you’re also branding yourself in a negative way to the organization that extended the offer of employment to you in the first place.

I’ve stated this before, but accepting an offer of employment is a commitment. Yes, it’s verbal in nature, but it’s still a commitment. When you don’t treat it as such, what you’re basically saying is something akin to the following:

“Yes, I accept your offer of employment, unless my current employer or some other organization I’m interviewing with offers me something better, in which case I will take their offer instead.”

Unfortunately, some people treat an offer like some kind of “professional safety net,” as if they can simply fall into it if they absolutely have to and nothing better presents itself. So what happens if a candidate accepts an organization’s offer, accepts a counteroffer from their current employer, and then eventually loses their job with that employer because their boss was just keeping them around until they could find the candidate’s replacement?

Can that candidate go back to the organization that offered them a job initially? No, they typically can not. The hiring manager from that organization now has a “bad taste in their mouth” about the candidate because they gave their word of honor to the hiring manager and made a commitment, only to break that commitment and accept a counteroffer from their current employer. In this scenario, the candidate has “burned bridges” in both directions, effectively leaving them with no place to go.

As an Animal Health or Veterinary professional, you should be paid what you’re worth right now. You should not have to wait until you give your notice and essentially threaten to quit before your current boss and employer is willing to compensate you adequately for the value that you bring to the organization.

If you’re unsure of what you’re worth and what you should be getting paid in this current market, then conducting the appropriate research is one way to find out. Another way is to align yourself with an experienced Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter. They work with candidates and employers day in and day out, negotiating offer packages for professionals in all positions and capacities. They possess knowledge and expertise that you can leverage to reach your professional goals and maximize your career potential.

The VET Recruiter can do just that. Contact us today to find out how we can help you succeed.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1.By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2.By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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