Counteroffers can be tempting and ego-boosting.

You also may detect an underlying threat that you will be throwing away your entire career, future, and life by not accepting the counteroffer.

It is true: counteroffers rarely work. There are several reasons for this:

1. Trust. You could be a marked employee no matter what the company says. You have demonstrated your lack of loyalty by considering another opportunity. People will feel jilted, even if you accept a counteroffer and stay. You might even notice that interactions with your colleagues seem strained. Managers, too, have long memories and will not forget your lapse in loyalty –no matter how brief it may have been.

2. Most likely, your primary reason(s) for thinking of leaving will eventually resurface. There are many reasons why you may have considered a change: perhaps something, in particular, bothered you about your position, or maybe an irresistible offer surfaced unexpectedly. In any case, changes made due to a counteroffer may appease you in the short term but rarely last for the long run. Statistics show that if you accept a counteroffer, you will still likely end up leaving.

3. Apart from a short-term, Band-Aid treatment, in most cases, things usually revert to what caused you to consider leaving. After the dust settles from this upheaval, you will be in the same old rut. Statistics say that more than 80% of those who accept counter offers leave within six to twelve months. And half of those who take counter offers initiate their job searches within 90 days.

4. Finally, as you decide, look at your current job and the new position as if you were unemployed. Which opportunity holds the most real potential? Probably the new one, or you would not have accepted it in the first place.

Rather than setting yourself up for the feelings of confusion and guilt that may arise when a counteroffer is presented, be prepared.

What should you do with a Counter Offer?

Ask any Professional Recruiter, and you will hear dozens of heartbreaking stories involving counteroffers. Unfortunately, more executives seem to be getting and accepting them because of the unstable economy. Companies are operating with reduced staff, and any defections from the ranks create problems for those who remain. It is much easier for employers to entice key employees from leaving than to conduct grueling and expensive searches for replacements.

When you are ready to leave a job, you will go. You would not accept a counteroffer any more than you would let a vendor who bid high on a job make a second, lower bid to beat out the winner.

Lastly, try not to let the attractiveness of the new offer make you unhappy with your present position. Base your decision to move – or – not solely on the opportunity the new job represents, not on whether your present one could be better. And, since decisiveness is a trait of a superior executive, stick to your guns once you have made up your mind.