Perceptions of Loyalty

dog1-1100990-mI think people generally value loyalty, but I think it’s often misapplied. The two common areas are with companies and sports teams… which are really both companies.

If a team cuts a loyal player (see Demarcus Ware, Peyton Manning, etc.) as he gets older, it’s not a fan favorite move.

Companies are the same – they make decisions around making money. In some cases, it may backfire so they have to consider that.

But the point I want to make is around people being “too loyal” to a company. I’ve known several people who, after accepting an offer, got a better offer from another company. The situation changed. But they stuck w/ their original decision b/c they “accepted the offer”. Or they stay w/ a company despite the company changing policies like benefits, time-off or even pay.

If things were the other way around, do you think it would work the same? Not a chance.

If for some reason the company’s situation changed after you accepted the offer, they wouldn’t hesitate much if at all to revoke it or change it. If your company had a bad year and had to lay people off, would they just decide instead to keep everyone out of loyalty? No. They don’t have the money, they’ll let people go. It’s not personal – they can’t just pull money out of no where.

They might say “We need you to work this weekend.” or “Bonuses are cancelled.” people tend to just accept it. What else can you do? But if you walked in and said “I’ve changed my policy and I get 3 more days of vacation this year.” They’d laugh and/or fire you.

Now, I’m not a complete moron. I understand that they have to have policies and they need to be equal for the most part. They can’t have a separate agreement on all variables for every employee, but it does always seem to be one-way. And they eternally have it hanging over your head that if you don’t abide you might lose your job, not get a raise, etc.

Also, I’m not all cutthroat and vicious. I completely love the idea of loyalty and being a part of a great organization. But there’s a point where it costs more than it’s worth.

What can be done? Not too much and not easily. But I encourage people to think of themselves as a company w/ an agreement w/ another company. The other company has more to leverage so take that into consideration, but if the situation goes south, don’t just take it. See if you can change it – in the same company or w/ another one.

I’ve seen too many people pickup and literally move their family out of state and even out of the country to keep their job. Many of those same people were later let go by the company.

Moreover, be sure to invest in yourself. Increate your value to the company so that they value you, but also so that you’re valuable to other companies (or on your own somehow). How? Network – be sure to build relationships.

One talented friend of mine go laid off. On his way out, he sent out an email to many of the people he worked with at other companies during that time (clients) thanking them for their time. He had another job quick.

Caveat – I’ve been very blessed to have good jobs and now freelance. So it might be “easy for me to say” but even when I was w/ companies, I felt this way right or wrong.

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