Loyalty

My father worked as a school teacher for 32 years. He worked for the same school district for all those years. Although he held many jobs over that time span, he worked for the same employer. Although he probably doesn’t consider himself wealthy, the job was reliable, the benefits sufficient and the pension fantastic. I’m sure, on some level, he feels a sense of loyalty to his employer of 32 years.

Throughout my career I’ve been treated quite well by most of my employers. I’ve worked at companies with 5 employees to several with over 50,000. I’ve felt more loyalty towards the smaller companies. They felt like family. In those times I’ve certainly felt loyalty towards my managers and employees. That’s not a surprise because I’ve searched out opportunities to work for good people ahead of how big or popular the company may be.

Not so much with the larger companies. Working for Microsoft I felt like Z from the movie Antz. Just a tiny cog in a massive machine that’s easy to replace. Here’s your marching orders.

With higher numbers of unemployment, business owners know they’re in the catbird seat when it comes to hiring, promotions and raises. We’ve gone through the flip side of this equation where employees jumped from job to job like free agents searching for the highest bidder. Both sides have treated the other like a disposable partnership at times.

Eventually the jobs will come back. The pendulum will swing back towards the employees. I hope both employees and business owners will exercise mutual respect for each other during economic prosperity as well as economic downtown.

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6 thoughts on “Loyalty

  1. It constantly amazes me how some business lose light of a simple concept: employees and customers are the two basic reasons your company exists and is (hopefully) producing revenue. Mistreat any of them, and you’re doomed to failure eventually.

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  2. I’m going through this right now. Big bank is buying our little bank. They loved the “family” customer service we provided. However, many employees will be released with no severence and little vacation pay. A real shame…

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  3. I worked for a 40 person company that became an 80 person company and “lost their way” in terms of caring about the employees.

    I worked for a 150 person company that became a 250 person company and then summarily fired 40 of us with no reason because they were negotiating a merger.

    I worked for a 400 person company that really cared and currently work for a 14000 person company that is trying to balance caring (they do) with te very real need to do a reduction in force and clamp down on projects that aren’t going anywhere.

    In all of these cases, my loyalty was to my co-workers and my job. The Company (in the person of its execs) may try to do well by employees but, fundamentally, a corporation isn’t human and it will ultimately do whatever it needs to do to stay afloat and please the VCs and the stockholders.

    Stay true to your own work, do well by your co-workers, and keep your eyes open.

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