Archive for February, 2016

Number 1

Posted: February 4, 2016 in Philosophy, Professional
Tags: ,

I have been led to believe in the past that loyalty is owed to one’s employer.  Admittedly, I didn’t take well to being led that direction, but I think ultimately I gave in to the notion in order to appease those around me.  But no more, I say!

The agreement one has with their employer is a simple one in most cases: the employee is employed to complete tasks, maintain responsibilities, and to act as a professional in whatever that means.  In exchange for those services, the employer compensates the employee through an agreed upon benefits package, including some form of salary plus any perks that that particular employer chooses to offer.  The idea here is that I, as an employee, agree to procure services in exchange for that benefits package, and if the benefits package is not satisfactory it is my prerogative to opt to decline to offer said services.  This is the most simple explanation of the relationship, and not at all difficult to understand.

Politics and personal relationships not withstanding, you don’t owe your employer anything other than that which I have outlined above.  If it so happens that my brother starts a company and hires me, there may be more at stake than a paycheck and some health insurance…but for the arrangement that most of us have with our bosses, loyalty is irrelevant.

I’m not suggesting that loyalty isn’t important, or that it shouldn’t exist in the workplace.  I honestly feel that loyalty is earned over time, while respect is owed from day 1.  And this is how I live my life, even past my professional relationships: the first time I meet someone, I owe them respect (as they owe me) only because we are both human beings; however, on day 1 I don’t have any sense of loyalty toward this new person (again, personal relationships not withstanding)—that is something that might be earned over time.

The operative word here is ‘might.’  It is not required.  It is a voluntary arrangement, not discussed or negotiated, that is typically offered by one party before the other, and possibly eventually reciprocated by the other party at some point in the future.

And, for a brief amount of time in the recent past, I thought (read: was led to believe) this was wrong.  I learned/discovered/confirmed this week that it is, in fact, the way the world works.

I have no problem explaining to my boss that my relationship at my company is a very transactional and cold one.  I remember one time several years ago when I was nearing completion of my undergrad degree and considering future employment prospects, approaching my boss (at the time) and explaining how in the coming months I would be looking for a position that more directly suited my formal training and that I would eventually be leaving.  I did this out of a sense of loyalty (although at the time I mislabeled it as respect) to the company which had employed me for the previous 4 years.  It was a silly, silly mistake.  The subsequent conversations with HR proved to me that when it comes to discussing a change in employment status with one’s employer, kid gloves are required.  My take away from the whole experience was that, if ever I were to leave an employer, I would give them what is owed: respect, and a written notice informing them of my final two weeks under their employ.

“But what about your coworkers??” you might ask.  Well, it’s simple—and I speak from recent experience here.  Respect is owed your employer and its employees (again, because they are human beings).  Loyalty is owed your family (which you are a part of) along with the respect you already show them.  Friends can go either way, as I’ve outlined above—I would argue that true friends are owed loyalty (again—a voluntary decision); if, however, they have a problem with your decision to change employers, then their misplaced loyalty in their own employer clearly outweighs their loyalty to you, and as such, you are arguably cleared of any obligations there.  I get it’s a gray area—but loyalty has to be a two way street.

None of this is to say that I don’t love what I do.  I mean, right now, I guess I like what I do—I’m not quite in the romance phase just yet—but I’m hopeful that I will grow to love the work and the people with whom I share my workspace.  But to be clear—my loyalty lies with myself and my family, as my biggest purpose is to love them and provide for them.  If I were to stumble across an opportunity that would help me achieve that purpose in a way that is superior to my current means, I will pursue it in a heartbeat.  Deep down on the inside, I suspect this is true of everyone.

A decision about employment is never as clear cut as the decision itself.  Maybe a change in scenery affords more opportunities to my family that we otherwise wouldn’t have.  Or, maybe it’s a change in the family’s opportunities that have enabled the scenery change to be made.  Either way, we are all owed the respect to make that decision with input from the appropriate people, and the respect owed to someone who disagrees does not have to be extended to his or her opinion.  Period.

And, if I have any loyal readers left, please know that I appreciate you and your effort to keep in touch with the goings-on in my life.

As always, be well and stay tuned.