Bad Resignation Experience
During an early job in my career I was promoted several times with no immediate pay increase. Each time I was told my reward would be given during annual performance reviews. Later I discovered that meant I would be given a bit more than average for my exceptional performance. That's all they could do because corporate HR had guidelines and it was impossible to give more than the maximum raise. Only a few years out of college, I had no corporate political experience and I accepted that explanation because I thought this was the way things must be done.
Eventually I was promoted to project lead and I began interviewing a few growth candidates for my team. Since I wasn't a "resource manager", I assessed skills, character and team fit but not salary. One day the director scheduled a quick meeting with me. I was told that one of the candidates I selected will be hired and that they will be making $5K more than me. I was asked if this was a problem. Of course I said no, as if any other answer would have been comfortable. Again I was told that my rewards would come during my annual performance review. I was also informed that when I was originally hired, I should have asked for more money because I was at the low end of the pay scale -- even before the promotions.
Lucky for me this was a time of incredible growth in IT. The Y2K FUD and subsequent bubble were on the distant horizon and the economy was beginning to roar after the difficulties of the mid/late 80s. A career in IT was hot and getting hotter. A couple folks left the company and soon the flood gates opened as those folks "outed" talented members of the staff. After several recruiter calls and subsequent interviews, I accepted an offer for 50% more salary.
I was called into the director's office and asked why. I said I enjoyed working with the team here, was thankful for the experience I gained but at this point in my career, the new opportunity was something I felt was the right thing to do. That's when things went from uncomfortable to downright hostile. I was demanded to tell where I was going, what I would be doing and my compensation. Again I repeated that I was thankful for this opportunity and preferred not to discuss the new opportunity and that my decision was final. Then I was told that "I was one of those people". (Whatever that meant.) I was accused of making a big mistake and words were said that implied I was chasing money. I was also told that things can be done to retain me. At this point I was very uncomfortable and simply refused to discuss the matter further.
Since then, I've resigned from other companies and have never experienced anything like this. I was offered the opportunity to air my thoughts in a professional exit interview and all respected my desire to not discuss counter offers. In my opinion when a new opportunity is accepted, that's it! You've given your word and if you back out, anyone who knows what you've done will never trust you again. (i.e. old company, new company, recruiter, etc.)
To this day I still question whether or not I made the right decision at that early job. Should I have discussed where I was going, what I was going to be doing and how much more money I was going to make? Should I have let them know my promotions were disappointing because I received chintzy "above average" raises and that I was bothered when some folks made significantly more than me even though having lesser positions? If I had, what good would have come of it?