Loyalty is NOT dead!
There are plenty of companies out there who are actively looking to cultivate long-term relationships with their talent, to help them grow as the organization grows. These companies deserve and frequently receive, a high degree of loyalty from staff.
And then there are others. Those which demand absolute loyalty from their staff… but offer none in return. And when their actions impinge upon your career prospects, when they actively take control AWAY from you and put it in the hands of others…that’s when being a “company man” can be a real negative.
Here’s what to look out for:
1) When You’re Passed Over for a Promotion by an External Hire
Great companies are always looking to promote from within, because doing so yields a host of benefits for employer and talent alike. Companies that have lost their way do the exact opposite. They fall victim for the “grass is always greener” mentality, always looking to bring on the next hotshot who can help them get the shiny brass ring…while ignoring the internal high performers who can actually move the company forward in the RIGHT way.
If you’ve been promised a promotion, gotten your hopes raised, and been rudely awakened by an external hire, you should read it as a warning sign. They don’t value you. They don’t respect you enough to be truthful about their intentions. And in all likelihood, it will happen again.
2) When Your Boss Leaves (or is Replaced)
This is the #1 reason my executive clients will want to ramp up a job search. In most cases, the reason you felt comfortable working at a company for a longer period of time was a particularly fruitful relationship with your boss. Perhaps she or he served as a mentor. Perhaps they’d faced some of the professional challenges you’re facing now, and can lend some real insight into dealing with them. Or perhaps it’s as simple as having someone who trusts you enough to let you do your own thing. Whatever the primary driver, when they depart the odds are against finding the same level of simpatico with the replacement. At that point, the question becomes: do I stick around to see what the relationship with this new boss evolves into, or do I start pursuing new opportunities? Many opt for the latter.
3) When There’s a Growing Divergence in Priorities
The company you joined years ago may be very different from what it is today. Has there been a leadership change that has altered the culture negatively? Do you find your opinions habitually marginalized or dismissed? Do you fundamentally disagree with what your bosses see as the best way forward, and don’t see that changing anytime soon?
Do an honest assessment of your employer today, and ask yourself whether you see negative trends tapering off, or most likely continuing on. If it’s the latter, start researching companies that would be a better fit for you, and begin establishing new relationships with key decision-makers within them!