Counter Offers. You Suck.


Q. I've gone through the entire interview process and received a great offer; a better opportunity with a better company.  I've analyzed and agonized over the decision to leave my current position, for what appears to be a better one, and I've decided to accept the offer. However, upon resigning, my current boss asks me to stay and made me a counteroffer. Now what? - Nicole, Los Angeles. 


A. Career changes are tough enough as it is, and anxieties about leaving a comfortable job, friends and location and having to reprove yourself again in an unknown opportunity can cloud the best logic. But just because the new position is a little scary doesn’t mean it’s not a positive move.  Since counteroffers can create confusion and buyer’s remorse, you should understand what you’re up against.

Counteroffers usually involve offering more money, a promotion or future promises. The Emotional Counter Offer is a calculated approach to guilting you into staying with the company.

“You’re too valuable.  We need you.”

You can’t desert the team and leave them hanging.”

“Why would you want to work for that company?”

“We were just about to give you a promotion, and it was confidential until now.”

Consider this

Where did the additional money or responsibility you would get come from?  Was your next raise or promotion just given early?  Will you be limited in the future?  Will you have to threaten to quit in order to get your next raise?  Might a cheaper replacement be sought out?

You’ve demonstrated your unhappiness or lack of blind loyalty, and will be perceived as having committed blackmail to gain a raise. You won’t ever be considered a team player again.  Many employers will hold a grudge at the next review period, and you may be placed at the top of the next reduction-in-force “hit list”.

Apart from a short-term, band-aid treatment, nothing will change within the company.  After the dust settles from this upheaval, you’ll be in the same old rut.  A rule of thumb is that more than 80% of those who accept counteroffers leave, or are terminated, within six to 12 months.  And half of those who accept counteroffers reinitiate their job searches within 90 days.

Finally, when you make your decision, 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 wouldn’t have accepted it in the first place.

Top 10 Reasons Not to Accept a Counter Offer

1.After resigning, you have made your employer aware that you were looking and unhappy. Your loyalty will now be in question.

2. When promotion/raise time comes around, your employer will remember who is loyal and who is not.

3. When making difficult decisions about cut-backs, the company may begin with those that are deemed less loyal.

4. Accepting a Counter-Offer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride, to simply be bought at the last minute.

5. Where was the extra money for a counter-offer at during your last performance review? Most companies have strict wage/salary guidelines and may be simply giving your next raise early or buying time to hire someone in your place.

6. The same circumstances that now cause you to consider making a change almost always reoccur within the next 6-12 months.

7. Statistics show that if you accept a counter-offer, the probability of voluntarily leaving in 6 months or being let go within 1 year are extremely high.

8. Once the word gets out, the relationship you now enjoy with co-workers will never be the same. You lose personal satisfaction of the peer group acceptance.

9. What type of company do you want to work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?

10. Accepting counter-offers after already accepting another position burns bridges with other companies, your recruiter, and ultimately shows all 3 parties that you can be bought.Need more evidence? Do your own homework: google counteroffers and see what you find….

Ask Lucy - Frustrated with Job Boards?



We posted a job on multiple sites, are eager to hire but have received minimal applicants. Those who have applied are often outside of our industry. What are we doing wrong?

– Shannon from NYC


If you’ve ever used a job board you know all too well that they can be inefficient, ineffective and frustrating.

Job Boards are Transactional

Highly impersonal, there is no connection between the employer and prospective talent. No conversation. Only a cold, sometimes sterile description that demands a resume for consideration. Talent has no idea where the resume goes or who it goes to. The chief complaint I hear among talent is referred to as the black hole of resumes. Even when job seekers send their resume as directed, they rarely receive a response of any kind. Job seekers have become weary of this unpromising process and are much more reluctant to apply than in the past. Both active and passive job seekers want a personal connection. A point of contact with a pulse. A person with whom they can engage with, ask questions and connect with directly.

Job Postings are Poorly Written

Sterile. That’s putting it nicely. The purpose of posting a job is to attract talent. There’s nothing appetizing about a laundry list of job duties and responsibilities. Yawn. How would you tell a friend about an open position at your company? You’d likely begin with all the reasons why you like to work there. You would tell the story, the narrative that frames you brand, company and culture. The majority of job postings share little insight into company culture and the people. At best, it’s a history lesson and humble brag session. Talent wants to know why they should apply for your job. They’re not just looking for a job, per se. They are looking for more than a paycheck. And while that may vary from person to person there are a few common themes.

Job Seekers are More Savvy

Job boards are becoming passé. The smart job hunter isn’t surfing job boards. A decade ago posting a job proved to be much more successful than it is today. Before the rise of LinkedIn and the abundance of social networking there weren’t as many choices.

Now prospective job seekers are getting more proactive. Talent can contact a hiring manager, internal recruiter or HR directly. They’re doing their homework, conducting research on your brand long before they even consider applying. Without a well communicated approach, the desirable candidates are bypassing the yell and sell of a job description turned job post.

You Must Go To Them

You must go to them. It’s highly unlikely that the candidates you desire are sitting around waiting for you. They’re busy and they’re tire of the fluff, the billboard approach. They want a personal connection, transparency and engagement. They want to know what it’s really like to work for your company.

You must have a recipe, a strategy, a process. So before you post and pray, consider a more calculated approach to talent acquisition.

I've developed a proven system that works, every time. No job boards, no surfing LinkedIn.

Are you looking for the solution?

-Ask Lucy


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Ask Lucy - How Can I Be Found by Recruiters?



I would like to know which platform is best for designers to showcase their work. One where recruiters can see their skills. What do recruiters want to see in a designer and what’s the best way to present a good portfolio?

-anonymous by request


I think there’s a common belief amongst the design community that the answer to being “found” is in the design portfolio. I’m here to tell you that this is not the case. Perhaps that’s not the popular answer and maybe I’ll receive some boo hiss for saying so. I can’t speak for all recruiters, but I personally do not surf portfolio platforms in search of talent. Why?

When searching for design talent, we’re doing so on behalf of a client for a specific position and needs depending on their product and strategic goals. Typically, clients are looking for a specific type of background i.e. product category and market segment. For example, a lifestyle footwear brand might desire other lifestyle footwear brand designers. It’s not always as simple as that; often times a search will expand to adjacent industries (industrial design, etc.) and market segments (performance, outdoor). The point I’m trying to make here is that a search typically begins with the desired background and experience. This may sound frustrating, unfair or just plain wrong. There’s a myriad of reasons as to the “why” behind this that I won’t delve into as it’s a fairly deep rabbit hole and can be silenced for the sake of your question.

Back to the question before us. Design portfolios are still important. They should be well organized, showcasing recent and or relevant work for the type of role you are seeking. They should not be a lifetime catalog of everything you’ve ever done in chronological order. It’s too overwhelming and a good recruiter who knows quality design work coupled with knowing their client should be able to spot it immediately. Less is more. If an employer requests to see more of your work or something specific you can always send more. Keep your portfolio concise and focused. Keep it simple and try not to overthink it. It’s easy when you’re detail oriented and a perfectionist by nature to want to “hide the whole portfolio until it’s absolutely perfect”. Sound familiar? There’s no such thing as perfect. Design is subjective. What’s ideal for one brand may be discarded by another.

I promise we’re close to landing the plane here…. Which platform is best? The one that’s easiest for you to maintain. As long as it provides a link that can be easily accessed by those you share it with, it’s perfectly acceptable. Most recruiters and employers use LinkedIn when searching for talent. If you want to be “found” I’d make sure your profile is up to date AND you have a link to your design portfolio clearly listed.

-Ask Lucy



Ask Lucy. Making a decision between two offers.


Annie from Ohio writes….

I received two offers just days apart. Both well-known brands, same title, similar responsibilities. One offer came in 10K lower than the other. I am already facing a pay cut regardless of which company I choose due to the cost of living increase. A 10K difference in base salary intensifies the decision. In case you’re wondering about the cost of living issue, all I can say is that’s what happens when you want to leave Ohio. Both companies are eagerly awaiting and I have a difficult decision to make.


If this decision was purely based on money you would have already accepted the offer and wouldn’t be asking this question, right? Let’s look at all the angles.

Dissecting your interviews to date, paying close attention to the onsite, in person interview. Was the process well organized and the company served as a good host i.e. appropriate water and restroom breaks or did you fly from one person to the next? Was there an enthusiasm for your potential employment or did you feel more like a number of applicants?

Did you have a connection with your potential boss, direct reports, cross functional team members? Did you sense any opposition to your role or to you personally?

Were the current employees genuinely content, glad to be there and all had decent tenure? If so, this company’s doing something right. Do they promote from within? Or will you have to leave again in a few years in order to take the next step in your career?

How’s their reputation in the industry? Speak with a handful of trusted colleagues and friends who have worked for this company or knew someone who has. Ask them to confirm the company culture as described to you. Sometimes we need to hear from a variety of sources to validate our decision-making process.

Money’s not everything. When faced with two or more offers, look at the big picture. In each scenario consider what your life will really be like. Will you be working so many hours that the increased base negates itself anyway? Is there a realistic possibility you will be promoted in the future? The interview process is telling of the company’s overall processes. Finally, people work for people. Who did you have the better connection with?

Are you sick of me asking you all these questions? I invite you to consider a 360 view before making a decision based on compensation alone. Choose the best fit. Chances are you know in your gut what the right decision is.



- Lucy


Ask Lucy. What’s the best way to find a mentor and ask them for help?



Julia from New York writes….

I am just starting out in my career and am looking for a mentor to help me understand and navigate the industry. What’s the best way to find a mentor and ask them for help?


Well, Julia that’s a great question. I’m always impressed when young people acknowledge the need for guidance and mentorship. Frankly, it’s a good idea at any age and stage in one’s career.

Before thinking about who to ask and where to look, let’s talk about what you want to achieve.

  • Are you looking for someone who can help you determine a career path or achieve your career goals?

  • Or maybe you’re looking to learn more about a specific subject i.e. merchandising, online retail or management.

Depending on what you hope to achieve could change who you approach.

Next. There are a couple of routes you can take in terms of finding the right mentor.

1. Direct Network

Ask someone in your direct network. You likely wouldn’t be asking this question if you already knew someone so let’s look beyond the obvious. Who do you have in your LinkedIn network? It may not be someone you know personally but perhaps they share a similar career path or is simply someone you respect and feel you could learn from. Spend some time getting familiar with who you’re already connected to and create a list of your top 10 prospects. Keeping in mind the reasons why you’ve chosen them and what you hope to achieve.

Craft the message

  1. Be clear from the jump that you’re seeking a mentor.

  2. Tell them why you are reaching out to them i.e. why you’ve chosen them. Flattery will get you everywhere.

  3. Clearly define what you hope to achieve no matter how simple or specific it may seem.

  4. Outline your expectations and what you are willing to do. For example, coffee, phone conversation, etc. for one hour a month. In return you will be on time, complete any assignments they give and receive constructive criticism. Things like that. This shows your commitment and that you’ve thought it through. This will no doubt be a commitment on both ends.

  5. Thank them. Even if they’re not able to become your mentor, be sure to say thanks for their time. Simple as that.


2. Work with an organization

There are industry specific organizations who already have mentorship programs in place. Two that I can personally recommend are:

Camber Outdoors – Ideal for women in the outdoor industry at all levels.

Two Ten’s Women in the Footwear Industry – also for women but in the footwear industry.

Women in Digital – I’ve recently become acquainted with Women in Digital who to the best of my knowledge doesn’t have a formal “mentoring program” but does offer a similar format but in more of a group setting. I’m guessing you could find someone within this group once you get to know the members.

If this is the route you choose, I’d suggest contacting them directly with a similar message as the direct network approach. Enrollment periods to obtain a mentor may be at certain times of the year or annually. It depends on the organization’s process and timing but in this scenario you’re guaranteed working with someone who has a desire to serve as a mentor and there’s likely some parameters in place.

I hope this helps you along your journey to finding a mentor. Happy Hunting!




Ask Lucy

Okay, so there’s no one on our staff named Lucy. But doesn’t it bring back fun childhood memories? But for reals, we’re starting up a formal Q&A. We found ourselves answering so many of the same questions with our clients and candidates on the regular, we decided it might be helpful to provide the answers in a more public format. Don’t worry we won’t publish your name (or where you work, yikes!) but we will provide a thoughtful and specific answer to any question you might have. Chances are, if ye has pondered, someone else has too.

Commitment to transparency. I personally have felt that a sense of mystery around recruitment has developed. As if we have some sort of secretive code by which we operate that no one really understands. In an effort to bring total transparency to our craft, there are no off-limits topics.

And it’s free. Please, no nickels, nickels, nickels.

Got a question?