Lots of colleagues are leaving. Should I be looking for a new job?

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Q: My company has experienced constant turnover since I started 10 months ago.  I like the company and my position, but the constant turnover makes me nervous.  Should I be looking around?  It seems like everyone is leaving and “ringing the bell” (which means making more money than they ever thought).  When should an employee start looking for a new job?  I thought for sure I would be here for several years.

A: Great question.  When others are running for the door, it certainly does seem like a reasonable time to re-assess your situation.  Everyone’s situation though is a bit different.  Some employees enjoy the work on their desk, while others are working for the employee benefits or perhaps a reasonable commute.  Typically, there are several factors which influence an employee’s decision to remain with the company.  Even “constant turnover” can be unnerving as sometimes it has a ripple effect and impacts other roles within a company.  We all have different tolerance levels for turbulence though.  Some of us are ok with some chaos, while others run in the opposite direction.

Most hiring managers question resumes when a candidate has remained with a job for less than one year.  However, some employers, especially in the start-up world, are more forgiving with respect to shorter stints.  Other employers, typically larger and more mature companies, will view a one-year stint as a yellow flag.  However, if your resume indicates a pattern of short tenures, that is a red flag for most hiring managers.

You also raise the issue of increase compensation, with a new role.  Often times a job change does yield an increase in compensation.  However, candidates must evaluate the total compensation.  If the candidate is losing a 401(k) match, is the increase in base pay truly an increase in total compensation?  Does the new employer offer a comparable medical plan?  If so, what is the employee’s contribution?  Does the new role require the employee to purchase a monthly parking pass?  Truthfully many exiting employees embellish and play up their new offer.  The new offer, shared with colleagues, is not exactly the offer the employee has accepted.

I always recommend that all employees, regardless of their role and tenure, keep their resumes updated.  I update my resume every January and I have had my own company for 18 years.  It is an uncertain world.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.

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