Changing jobs is difficult and often times downright scary. Leaving your comfort zone behind and deciding to join a new company is hard enough by itself. Add the complications of counter offers and second thoughts to the mix and now your career change can become very stressful.

If your current company offers you a counter to stay, it may seem very tempting. Here’s why you should almost always say no.

First, national research shows that almost 90% of individuals who accept counter offers are gone within six months. These numbers show that once an employee decided to leave, its almost always already a done deal.

If a company presents the employee a counter offer that gives them what they want, then why do the employees still leave? For most people the underlying reasons for changing jobs just never really go away. Understand why you were interested in the new job in the first place. What did it give you that you didn’t already have?

Second, the world is a little different today than it was in year’s past. Once you turn in your notice, your relationship with the current employer is altered forever. Every time you need to go to the dentist or pick your child up early from school, your employer will assume that you are interviewing. Unfortunately, once the trust is gone, it’s very hard to get it back.

Third, if you do go through all the motions of interviewing, negotiating and accepting a role with another company and then back out at the last minute, what does it do to your credibility and reputation should you find yourself looking again in the next six months? You may be closing the door on a company that had genuine interest in you.

In many cases, companies who make counter-offers to departing employees are trying to find ways to stop the bleeding. For example, if a high performing sales person resigns, it’s worth a lot to try to keep that person engaged and performing until another solution can be identified. For the employee, there will always be an underlying feeling of resentment because the company took so long to give their respect.

In closing, a better solution to the age old counter offer issue would be to avoid it altogether. If you are unhappy at work, talk to your employer before seeking another job. There is always a chance that they just aren’t aware that you are looking for more. If they say no, then your decision became much easier.