how do you know if accepting the counter job offer is the best thing to do?

Before you start looking for your next vet or vet nurse job – there are some things you need to do first – to avoid heartbreak and stress further down the track.

get clear on why you’re leaving

Make a list.  Of everything that you want in your dream job and what’s lacking in your current job.

Once you’ve done that, then look at that list and ask yourself are these fair and reasonable expectations to put on your current clinic so that you stay?

what must change for you to stay?

Take this list seriously – commit some time to it because you’ll be revisiting it down the track.

IF what needs to change for you to stay IS fair and reasonable, then make a time with your manager – the PM, head vet, head nurse, whoever it is, and give them the opportunity to consider those changes.

If nothing changes, you’ve lost nothing.   The status quo remains.   You’re back to where you were, which is thinking about finding your next job.

If you’re one of the vets or nurses who’s called me over the last three or so years asking “what should I be earning?” you’ll know one of my opening questions is “are you happy where you are?   Do you want to stay?” because if you are and if you do, trying to reach a win / win outcome is always the best place to start from.

Because one will get you ten in today’s current vet and vet nurse employment market, you’ll be made a counter-offer when you resign.  

Unless you’re resigning for a reason that’s outside your boss’s control – perhaps your significant other has been offered a new role in another part of the country … or you need to relocate to look after an elderly parent … or you’ve always dreamed of locuming and you want to give that a go … or you’re going overseas …

Factors brought about by your personal circumstances and nothing your current employer can change…

BUT, if you’re going to another neighbouring clinic, you’ll probably have a counter offer to consider after you’ve resigned.

To achieve the best possible outcome – for all parties concerned – you, your current clinic – and, depending on how far down the path you are, your future clinic (or not) you need to plan ahead.

Do you want to stay?

Staying is the easy way – especially if/when your current clinic presents you with a counter offer.

In your mind’s eye, I want you to fast forward when considering whether you want to stay.  

As yourself: 

  • Are you prepared to step into your challenge zone  – ie, out of your comfort zone – and negotiate something better today?  Without looking for another job?
  • Do you feel ‘brave’ enough that you’ll be well received?    That doesn’t mean that your requests will be met, but that you won’t be ridiculed or bullied simply because you asked.  
  • What will it take for you to stay?
  • If they say no now, and then make you a counter offer down the track, what will you do at that point?  Will you remember they weren’t willing to do this until backed into a corner?

Because maybe, just maybe, you can negotiate with your current clinic terms that make you want to stay. 

My recommendation is to do that before you start looking for another job.   Not in a counter offer situation.

Righty, so let’s say you have a counter offer from your current employer on the table – what do you do?

Firstly – you need to do the right thing for everyone involved.  

If you’re working through a recruitment agency you need to let them know.   If you’re not working through an agency, the courteous and polite thing is to let the new clinic know.  

Just like you’re giving your current clinic the opportunity to consider a counter offer, so to do you need to let the new clinic know that’s happened.

You’re giving your current clinic the opportunity to respond, likewise, you right thing to do is let the new clinic know as well.   It’s a courtesy thing.  

The new clinic won’t appreciate having their time wasted with you telling them you’ve accepted a counter offer they knew nothing about.

What you’ve done now is given yourself some breathing space.   If you’re working through a full-service recruitment agency like VetStaff – talk it over with them – use them as a sounding board.  

If you’ve gone through one of the agencies that just sends out CVs to clinics on their database then they won’t be able to help you because they won’t know how.

Remember that list you wrote up about why you’re looking for a new job in the first place …?  Before you started your job search – go back to that list.   Has anything changed?

Have all the ‘deal breaker’ items changed?

If they haven’t changed, but the promise has been made to change, make sure you get this in writing – because it’s all too easy for things to get put on the back burner and before you know it, everything is back to how it was in the first place.

Usually, the original reasons will still exist:

  • Clinic culture
  • The person you’re leaving – most people resign because of people – your boss or owner of the clinic – is still the same person
  • You’ve psyched yourself up to leave and because of this and therefore your thinking is skewed to everything negative

According to LI, 80% of people who accept a counter offer will have left that employer within six months and 93% will have left within 18 months.

Let’s assume you want to consider the counter offer.   You’re tempted to stay put.   If that’s the case, I want you to ask yourself these six questions:

6 essential questions you must answer honestly to yourself

If you fib to yourself when answering these questions you’ll be one of those 80% or 93% of people who’ll have left their job after accepting a counter-offer at their original clinic of employ.

1) Why the counter offer now…?


Why did you have to get a better offer before they were prepared to up the ante?

In most cases, the counter offer presented to you, isn’t so much about you – if it was they’d have recognised you long before you resigned – it’s about making life easier for the clinic – so they don’t have to go down the recruitment path.

2) Will this fix that…?


What was the main reason you started job hunting in the first place?

Will this fix that?

Let’s say you want more money… or less after hours… or shorter hours…

Is more money, less after hours, shorter hours – whatever it is – the only reason you started looking for another position in the first place?  

If it’s not – and it’s not always – is more money (or fewer hours) going to make it easier for you to continue working with the other issues that caused you to consider leaving in the first place?

If you hadn’t resigned, would you have received the additional money, benefits, or whatever it is, now?  Why did it take it quitting for you to get the recognition and/or acknowledgement you believe you deserve?

Imagine you’re applying to work at the clinic where you’re working now and you know everything you know about it now – would you accept the job offered to you?   Why?   Why not?

3) At face value is this clinic – where you are now – the best clinic for you…?


When presented with a counter offer it’s easy to talk yourself into staying because you’ll start to weigh up the “easies”:    You know

  • the team
  • clinic culture
  • everyone’s idiosyncrasies
  • you don’t have to go through the new-kid-on-the-block nerves of settling in to a new job
  • it’s easier to stay put

Ask yourself – is staying really the best thing for you?

4) Is accepting the counter offer the best decision for your career – in the long run?


In many cases, accepting a counter offer isn’t going to be good for your career long term.

Why?   Your loyalty will be brought into question.   Your boss, or the owner of the clinic isn’t going to forget you had one foot out the door and was ready to jump.  

Neither are they going to forget that you’ve cost them more money – there’s the resentment factor. 

Coupled with those who know at your current clinic that you’ve changed your mind, so too will the clinic you’ve bailed on.  

Your name will have a question mark against it for trustworthiness – at two clinics.   Is this what you want?

5) How will your relationship with your co-workers change?

COUNTER JOB OFFERS – 5/6 how will your relationship with your co-workers change?

Holding management over a barrel?

Will they see you as having sold out?  

Been bought? 

Will they be resentful?

Can you live / work with that?

6) why are you leaving?  Really.

COUNTER JOB OFFERS – 6/6 – why are you leaving? really?

Ideally this is the question you would have asked yourself  before you even started looking elsewhere.  

Also, ideally, you’re being 100% honest with yourself and management.

If it’s about money, why didn’t you consider asking for a pay raise without going through the palaver of looking for another job.   I could have helped you with that.   I’m not saying that every time a vet or a nurse comes to me asking for my help with their pay negotiations that we’re successful … but we are successful in kicking off the conversation and opening the door.   

As well as asking the question of why are you leaving, is also the flip side of that which is what will it take for you to stay?

Because some things won’t change, regardless of how much money you earn.   The boss is still the boss.   The boss’s husband, wife, daughter, son, cousin, niece, nephew is still that same relative – that is not going to change.

Will earning more money make that easier to accept?   Maybe, maybe not.  

But be honest with yourself because if you’re kidding yourself that money brings happiness and contentment you’re never going to be satisfied, because it doesn’t.  Yes – it makes it easier – maybe – to live with – but don’t prostitute yourself.  

Vet Clinic Employer of Choice Accreditation

A world first (as far as we can tell) initiative from VetStaff – we’re looking for pilot veterinary clinics to be part of our Beta Launch. 

You know how finding and keeping good veterinary professionals right now is hard… there’s always the fear another clinic is going to poach your star performers…?

Here at VetStaff we’ve designed a programme to help vet clinics – anywhere in the world – recruit and retain their star performers.

Not only does it help you retain the star performers already on your team, it also helps make recruiting easier because as a participating clinic, you’ll receive the VetStaff Seal of Accreditation

Having this Seal instantly identifies your clinic as a VetStaff Employer of Choice.   Because it’s VetStaff polishing your clinic’s halo from the outside and we can back up our claim – it’s not you on the inside beating your chest about how great you are – our third-party endorsement gives your clinic the VetStaff Employer of Choice Accredited tick.   

Right now, we’re launching our pilot programme and if you’d like to be considered as one of our beta clinics, please let me know by sending me an email to  

If you want to participate, the process is very simple and totally affordable – it’s less than the cost of an average small bitch spay.  

We’ll ask for some proof of verification – which is easy to get and that’s it!

Easy Peasy! 

Because very few clinics right now are fully staffed, it means most clinics are competing for the same high calibre staff.  Every little thing you can do to identify your clinic as being more attractive to work out, will make a difference. 

If your clinic’s not recognised as a VetStaff Employer of Choice, you’ll miss out to the clinic down the road that is.   

Today, it’s the clinics that are retaining and rewarding their staff in meaningful ways that get to recruit the best staff.   

If you’re not doing this in a way that’s easily recognised and verified, you’ll miss out to those clinics that are.

Being recognised as a VetStaff Employer of Choice Vet Clinic is something to be proud of.   

Imagine having the edge when it comes to recruiting high performers.

Imagine having a waiting list of high performers who want to work at your clinic.   

Because this is what can happen once the word starts to get out that your clinic is an Employer of Choice! Imagine how many headaches you’ll save when it comes to hiring new staff!

VetStaff’s Seals of Participation are a completely independent and recognised way for your clinic to stand out as a Vet Clinic Employer of Choice.

If this sounds like something you’d like for your clinic then email Julie South today to start the ball rolling at your clinic.  And just to clarify – this is designed to help clinics who’re already clients of ours – ones where we’re doing the recruiting AND for those that want to DIY their own recruitment. 

You don’t have to be an existing VetStaff client to participate.   If you want to DIY your own recruitment then this new initiative is perfect for you.   To find out more email

VetStaff’s two core beliefs

Everyone and everything we do at VetStaff is underpinned by two core beliefs.  

The first is that we believe all veterinary professionals deserve to work at a vet clinic job of their dreams where they’re respected and valued.  

The second is that all vet clinics deserve to have engaged and motivated employees working for them who love Monday mornings.  

If that sounds like the type of recruitment agency you’d like to work with, then please check us out at 


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