We are past the days when the norm was for the patriarchs of the family to find employment at large corporations or banks, and then continue to work with the same company for the rest of their professional lives and ending only with the certainty of a well-deserved pension plan.
As a child, I remember very vividly when my father was let go from his well paying, stable government job due to office politics. As a young teen, I was traumatized by the uncertainty. Fortunately for us, he was able to find a better position at an independent consultancy that worked with the same government institution and ended up with a huge pay raise to compensate for his experience.
The world has changed dramatically since. Nowhere is this is more evident than in the tech industry today. Tech professionals are constantly wooed by tech giants, as well as young start-ups. Individuals looking to get in the industry can spend some time learning how to code or bring their experience into the tech sector. Their demand then multiplies once they’ve entered the industry and have a proven track record.
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 wear their company branded t-shirt proudly at family picnics and talk about the company’s success with friends.
But the companies are now 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. When an employee quits today, they announce it on social media and often decrease the morale of those left behind. HR departments are tasked with sniffing out toxic work culture and are constantly on the look out for signs of dissatisfaction.
One recent exception to this shift in employer mentality, however, was the CEO of Better.com who decided to fire 900 employees on a short Zoom call, causing public outrage and condemnation.
The case for quitting
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 frank in your ambitions and show them you are a hard worker.
On the other hand, there is no reason for a ‘till death do us apart’ sense of loyalty. Maintain a strong network 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, never let go of your dreams and life goals.
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 conclusion, 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.