Photo by Erol Ahmed
As a company grows, even if the resignation rate remains constant, the absolute number of employees who leave the company each month will grow in tandem.
Recently, I’ve witnessed some colleagues leaving the company. Some for family reasons, others for personal growth. I want to talk about the latter kind of resignations - the kind where you leave to go to join a company that is giving you an overall better offer.
A quick caveat - I’m talking mainly about companies that are not in the early-stage startup phase, where the headcount is at least 50. Below that size, the camaraderie is usually so strong that the social dynamics are completely different.
Changing jobs not long after joining one
Is it wrong to leave when you haven’t stayed long in a company? What is the definition of long? Within a year? At least two years?
In my opinion, if you were brought on as a full-time employee and you leave in under a year, motivated purely by a better offer, then it is a dick move.
Assuming nothing in the company is actually horrible, moving for personal gain so early on is unfair to the people who have spent the time to interview, onboard, and ramp you up to contribute to the team. That is not even mentioning the cost incurred by the company to do that.
My personal benchmark at the moment is at least 2 years. Only after this amount of time does it feel okay to leave for a better offer, and that is contingent on you having had a conversation with management about a looming offer, giving them a chance to react and counter it.
Loyalty to colleagues and the company
Should loyalty to the company and your colleagues count for anything when considering a move to another company?
Yes, of course!
We are human, emotional animals living in impossibly large societies held together by trust. Someone trusted you when they brought you on board the team. At work daily, you trust someone to do their job well so you can do yours too.
So naturally, when considering leaving a company, we should consider the implications to our colleagues. Leaving without considering that is plain selfish.
But once you’ve considered that and factored it into your leaving timeline, and you have legitimate reasons to jump ship, I believe you should still leave for the better offer.
My view on changing jobs
Ultimately, my view on this topic is built on the belief that companies should have to continually wrestle to keep their good people around.
As an employee, we don’t owe it to our colleagues and to the company to stay beyond a couple of extra months out of graciousness.
The truth is, as people living in a capitalistic world, we have to fight for our professional growth because no one else will. That doesn’t mean cutting throats to get to the top. It just means looking out for yourself and your family.
In my opinion, to keep good employees, companies should refresh their offers to employees at least on a yearly basis, or whenever employees talk about a looming offer from another company.
Expecting to keep employees on any other premise is wishful thinking.
Smartly.io is where I work at the time of writing, and I think we are doing a great job keeping the best employees around. We even have several cases where people rejoined the company after leaving. It’s quite remarkable. And in case you’re wondering, we’re currently hiring Service Operations Engineers (my role now) and Full-stack Developers. Find a way to get in touch if you’re interested and think you fit the bill!