My Co-workers are all Leaving!

You’ve just received notice that another one of your co-workers is leaving and you’re starting to see a trend.  It feels like everyone who has the option is heading towards the exit door and you’re wondering if you should follow suit.  You are happy in your job, but you know that a high turnover at your workplace is not a good sign.  What should you do?  Before you rush to hand in your resignation, here are some points to consider:

Turnover is a natural cycle.  Gone are the days when people worked at one company for their whole career.  Today’s professional is looking to change jobs every three to five years.  While this often results in a co-worker leaving every now and then, sometimes you’ll get a mass of people who happen to find a new position at the same time.  Also, depending on your industry, there may be specific times during the year when the bulk of the hiring is done.

When there are big changes, some people will leave.  Change is difficult, so it is natural that when there is a lot of change at your company, some people will decide to move on.  They may determine that they no longer fit in with the organizational culture, or that their role has changed so that it no longer fits in with their career goals.  Whatever the reason, higher turnover often accompanies a big change.

It could be an indication of a problem in the company, but not necessarily.  When a lot of people are leaving, it is a good idea to stay alert.  It could be an sign that there is a problem in the company or within the department.  Pay attention and try to determine if trouble is brewing.  However, don’t jump to conclusions; there could be a lot of other explanations for the turnover.

When there is a high turnover, there are more opportunities for advancement.   It doesn’t feel good when your co-workers are leaving.  You miss your friends, you have to get used to working with new people, and you usually end up covering for vacant positions.  However, don’t forget that with turnover comes new opportunities.  When people leave, they create room for you to expand your skills and to move up in the organization.  Let your manager know that you are open to taking on new responsibilities and keep your eyes open for potential opportunities.

Sometimes it’s smart to follow the herd, and sometimes it’s not.  The best approach is to pay attention to what’s going on around you, and to make strategic career decisions instead of emotional ones.

(Photo from: jscreationsz /


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