No Company Loyalty

There was a time when loyalty to a company was rewarded with promotions and pensions. And perhaps there will be a time when that is true once again. At present however, only masochists blindly commit to a sociopathic entity that does not make any promises in return, preferably in writing.

A company’s main purpose has always been to make money; that has not changed. What has changed is the time preference of management (decreased) and the rate of change itself (increased). Both have combined to shift the paradigm from viewing employees as lifetime investments to disposable cost centers. A faster rate of change naturally rewards companies that stay nimble, particularly with its workforce, and a manager that can save money through short term cost cutting will be rewarded long before any negative ramifications are felt.

An employee that pledges unwarranted loyalty to a corporation can expect to be rewarded with stunted pay, reduced opportunities, and being taken for granted. Barring strong evidence to the contrary, people who don’t explore other options are more likely to be seen as optionless (read: low value) rather than virtuous.

This is not to say that loyalty is worthless and that an employee should change jobs every time someone else offers a 10% raise. To the contrary, intangible assets like political capital can only be built over time. Instead, the key is to be loyal to people who have demonstrated a willingness to be loyal in return and not to corporations who are required by law to increase shareholder value.

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