Post WWII, Americans came to believe in job entitlement. That is, they came to accept that in the work market they had the luxury of assuming their jobs would last until retirement. They could begin well-paying jobs after high school (better-paying with a college degree), could receive regular raises and incentives, and could look forward to secure pensions and Social Security. They generally felt loyal to their employers and felt secure that their hard work earned loyalty from employers in return.
The modern workplace has evolved into something quite different. Workers now deal daily with the constant threat of joblessness: layoff, downsizing, firing, project shifts, mergers, personality conflicts, etc. They realize that even basic college education and ambition isn’t enough to insure short-term - much less permanent - job security; moreover, they recognize that a Wall Street portfolio-motivated layoff probably will happen to them more than once in their lives. They now accept that employers have no loyalty to even the most proficient and skilled workers. This constant job insecurity has resulted in Americans feeling they have lost control over their employment futures.
As a result, the attitude of the American workforce is evolving to meet these changes in the workplace. Does this mean that loyalty to the employer has become passé? Yes, and no. Blind loyalty and expectation of some job permanence is gone. The willingness to give a lot to a job in return for satisfaction, and for the respect of coworkers and employers, has not. A big chunk of our life is spent working, and the more satisfied we feel with our ability to contribute and develop in our workplace, the healthier our whole life picture will feel. But in today’s job market, how can we achieve this?
Essentially, those who plan to have long, successful, and varied work experiences are developing the ability to practice aloyalty. Aloyalty is open-ended – an individual’s loyalty not to a specific organization or mode of doing things, but to what works - the quality and strengths that make an organization or individual work well. This aloyalty can and should transfer from job to job, and take the pressure and guilt off of working where things just don’t work. It should last through one’s work life to help one become more dynamic, valuable, and flexible as an asset. How can and should this work for you?
First, developing aloyalty means understanding who you really are, whom you work for and where you stand. Start by realizing that you work for yourself, at an organization, and with individuals. Your identity is not the job, the company, or the title. It is your own whole package - your ability to flex your skills and expertise, like moving from desk to desk or company to company without loss of productivity, or to manage projects in different types of businesses. Whether a perm or temp, a contractor or executive, or in private or public work – aloyalty can allow you to think of yourself as a free agent and to fashion yourself as an asset wherever you go. This will help you become flexible so you can always learn, grow, adapt, move, and expect/get the best reward for your abilities. This puts you in control of your work destiny - not the work market, the corporate management, or individual conflicts of the job. You can decide that your work situation can and should be changed, or you can walk away from an unproductive situation without guilt (even if it takes you a planning period of a year or two to do it).
Second, practicing aloyalty means that you recognize that you always deserve, expect and give the best. The benefit here is to you and allows you to increase your flexibility and value in the workplace. Even if your current employer is short-sighted or has a losing game-plan, never give less than your best and never stop looking for and taking all chances to grow. The current work market demands survival of the fittest and you can’t be fit if you don’t constantly build skills and expertise. This does not necessarily mean having killer instinct – you can be easy-going, friendly and fun, or introverted and quiet, and still be the fittest asset– the fittest you can be. True assets are not just flexible and accomplished front runners; they also can be a solid and compassionate support system during change, a planning-team’s intellectual, or a mellow expert behind the scenes. Shape yourself as a Renaissance person – a balance of bankable skillets and accomplishments, personality warmth, and academic/trained learning. Intellect, compassion, intuition and personality are as precious in the right situation as hard skills, expertise, speed, efficiency and creativity. This workplace-related Renaissance demands further, faster, better and different, but the more the market changes, the more true variety and versatility customers and employers will require to keep from imploding with stress.
Finally, aloyalty means being able to walk away. It means taking the risks to try different problem-solving approaches and choosing to walk away if you realize you can’t add value or if the work situation is crippling your ability to grow. Aloyalty helps you realize that some organizations and cultures can’t change even if you know you must, so you can move on without bitterness. It helps keep you from taking workplace breakdowns too personally since no culture-specific loyalty has been tested. Finally, it frees you from expecting something from the employer that people think should be there but which isn’t. You are an aloyal free agent and the employer is a nonloyal organization - if you can serve each other, fine; if not, comfortably move on with additional skills and capabilities that will attract your next employment opportunity.
- L.J. Bothell on net-temps.com"
<Note from JobFairy.com: Excellent advice. Bothell should be a Job Fairy. PAY YOURSELF FIRST!!!>