Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Loyalty is about helping create a more positive working environment, not just about staying at the same company for a long time

A client recently told me he doesn’t like his job, but loyalty is stopping him getting a better one until he’s been at the company for five years. When I probed him about the root of the problem, he admitted his wife doesn’t like him working late or at weekends. At the same time, he feels unappreciated, as he hasn’t had a pay rise for four years.

I told him loyalty is very important, but he needs to balance the commitment to his job with the responsibilities he has for himself and his family. He should consider a better job where he is appreciated, paid a competitive salary and can work more flexible hours.

Once he saw things from my perspective, he was eager to take on a new role.

This conversation was just one occasion where I encouraged individuals to think more about the importance of loyalty, something employers seek and treasure. But what exactly does it mean?

If you stay in a role for many years, but always complain about your employer, you’re not being loyal. Loyalty can involve speaking up at work, expressing concerns, or sharing ideas on how the company or a project can be improved.

While you may be loyal to your employer, you should expect some reciprocity. Are they loyal to you? Are you valued for what you bring to the table? A forward-thinking employer will pay you what you’re worth and value your contribution.

Loyalty to an employer should be balanced with loyalty to yourself and to your family. Some people work long hours for organisations that don’t value them and yet they don’t display the same commitment to their spouses and children.

Regardless of whether you resign or not, don’t badmouth your employer. I am fortunate and have worked for some excellent organisations, but even if you haven’t, show your loyalty by helping create a more positive environment wherever you work.

This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Commitment crises.