Many of us, particularly millennials, grew up knowing their fathers to work for an organisation, a corporation or a bank – and then continuing to work with the same company for the rest of their professional lives only to end their careers with the certainty of a well-deserved pension plan. The swag and expensive company perks, such as a cars, personal computers, or club memberships only reinforced the sense of belonging to a larger family of employees and the company.
Growing up, I remember vividly the day my father was let go from his well paying, stable government job as a result of dirty office politics and a toxic boss. As a young teen, I was traumatised by the uncertainty and anxiety that it caused our family. Fortunately for us, he was able to find a better position at an independent consultancy who’s only client was the same government institution. He ended up with a huge pay raise to compensate for his experience.
The world has since changed dramatically. Nowhere is this is more evident than in the tech industry today. Tech professionals are constantly wooed by tech giants and promising start-ups. Individuals looking to get in the industry can learn to code or bring their experience into the tech sector. The demand for their talent then increases exponentially with a bit of experience.
In this modern work context, where does one stand about loyalty?
In my opinion, loyalty and dedication to one’s job, bosses and team are the key to success in any industry, within any field. To get ahead, one must not only work hard but respect their superiors as well as the company’s mission statement. A successful professional is one who wears their company branded t-shirt proudly at family picnics and talk about the company’s success with friends.
But businesses and organisations are equally responsible for maintaining employee happiness and loyalty. Corporations post-COVID are investing a lot of time and money into building a work culture because losing talent and experienced staff hurts the company. Distributing shares and ownership options goes a long way to instil a sense of belonging.
2021 and 2022 were the years of the Great Resignation. When an employee quits today, they announce it on social media, which in turns further decreases the morale of those left behind. Now, more than ever, HR departments are tasked with sniffing out toxic work culture and are constantly on the look out for signs of dissatisfaction.
The do’s and don’ts of switching jobs
The challenge today is separating personal success and long-term professional goals from loyalty to the company. If you feel unsatisfied and unchallenged at work, always give your boss and team the opportunity to improve your situation. Be honest about your ambitions and show them you are a hard worker.
On the other hand, there is no value in a ‘till death do us apart’ sense of loyalty. Maintain a strong network outside of work and attend as many industry events as possible. Keep your ear on the ground for new opportunities and posting. Apply if you think the company fits your needs. Most importantly, know your dreams and life goals and do not compromise.
How long should you stay at a job? According to job sites like Indeed.com, two years is an absolute minimum. A recent BBC article argues that a year at minimum lets you learn at work and shows other potential employees that you are a reliable hire.
In summary, give your utmost loyalty to the company you work for, but always look out for yourself and plan your career accordingly. These two work objectives are no longer contradictory. Give your company a chance to improve your experience and job satisfaction, but don’t wait around if it falls to deaf ears. In today’s work environment, your company needs to show you as much loyalty as they would expect from you.