Using a Rival Offer for Leverage? Be Careful

Using a Rival Offer for Leverage? Be Careful

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Send your workplace conundrums to, including your name and contact information (even if you want it withheld). The Workologist is a guy with well-intentioned opinions, not a professional career adviser. Letters may be edited.

About a year and a half ago, during a transition in my life, I took a job I was overqualified for. I really do love the company, its perks and the people I work with. But my low salary has become an issue.

While my official position remains administrative in title and description, I have taken over most of the high-level responsibilities for one of the departments my supervisor oversees.

I tried to use my performance evaluation with her as a springboard for a growth conversation, but she is very old-school and backward-looking in her concept of the business. Executive leadership, however, is very pleased with my work and the changes and practices I’ve implemented.

They have indicated previously that they don’t want to lose me.

Now I’ve been offered a high-paying role with another company, with responsibilities that are very similar to what I’m actually doing in my current role. I would like to use this job offer to create leverage for myself and to have a conversation with one of our executive leaders about my role and increasing my compensation to keep me.

I think it would make sense to change my official job responsibilities, but I don’t know if I should just focus on the salary.

I am uncomfortable with ultimatums, although I guess that’s what this is. I would like to handle this as gracefully as possible while still being a better negotiator for myself than I have been in the past.


There’s nothing wrong with an ultimatum — so long as you’re ready to live with the consequences. If you aren’t, then you’re really just bluffing. And there are several reasons that this would be a bad idea.

First, pretending you’re interested in a job offer you wouldn’t really accept is a dubious move, and could alienate that employer and hurt your reputation. Second, your current employer may not only reject your ultimatum but find it bothersome, making it awkward to stay even if you wanted to change your mind. You could find yourself in a real pickle.

Admittedly I’m suggesting a worst-case scenario, but that’s the point. You should absolutely try to use this situation to your best advantage. But part of that process is being honest with yourself about all the ways it might play out — precisely so you can avoid, for example, telegraphing that this is all just a negotiating ploy.

The best mind-set to have is one of confidence: You would be happy to accept that offer, not because you hate your current job but because the new one is a nice opportunity.

(Original source)

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