There are so many stories nowadays about the loyalty a person owes to another, whether that be to family or to their company. Most of these stories are about that loyalty being betrayed in some way, but the language around these stories sticks with me and gives me pause.
In almost all cases, there is this expectation that loyalty should be given, whether that be through ties of blood or through some financial arrangement.
For example, if I have a brother, then I should be loyal to that brother because he is my brother, but not for any other reason.
In the same vein, if I work for a company, then I should be loyal to that company for no other reason than because they grant me my livelihood and pay my paycheck.
Honestly, I find this line of thinking to be repugnant and difficult to understand.
If we want to think of this in stark financial terms, no company “gives” me a salary. I earn that salary in exchange for goods and services rendered. I am paid so that I may use my skills and expertise to perform some task or build some product.
A paycheck does not automatically mean I give my loyalty to a company. How cheaply bought my loyalty would be if I did!
Many companies and executive leaders of companies will often expect loyalty from their own employees but give none in return. I have many first-hand examples of companies firing employees in order to enrich themselves and their own bottom line. Where’s the loyalty in that?
Employees who gave years of their own lives to a company will find the company has turned their back on them when they needed them most. I know of some companies that have fired employees with long tenures during those employees’ holidays. Or fired scores of employees right before going public, so they could make sure their own exit had a bigger payout. What loyalty did these companies have for their employees?
I think it should be obvious that loyalty is not something that can really be purchased in the way most companies seem to expect. It has to be earned.
Earned through the repetition of right action. That constancy shows others that the company is reliable and something worthy of being followed.
But even then, I would never give my loyalty to any company.