“The only people I owe my loyalty to are those who never made me question theirs.” (Author unknown). Loyalty is a rare quality in a world that revolves around throw-away values. Being loyal, by definition, means “giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution”. But I believe that being loyal means so much more, and can have a different meaning for all of us. For me, being loyal means remaining true to your roots; appreciating and defending where you came from; standing up for what you believe in; and being there for the ones you love and respect. I don’t believe that where your loyalty lies should change depending on your surroundings; who you are and what you believe in at home shouldn’t change when you go to work in the morning.
I have been thinking a lot about loyalty lately, because sometimes when my job feels like a train-wreck and a shit-show and a political cess-pool, it is easy to dream about working pretty much anywhere else. Instead of quitting when things get hard or when I have had enough of stupid, inconsiderate people, I have to dig deep to figure out where my loyalty sits. I have to be loyal to myself first- meaning, I have to do what makes me happy and what keeps my kids fed. But being loyal to an employer everyday is a full time job in itself; that is like being expected to wake up every morning with a smile on your face and be ready to jump your spouse’s bones. Some days it has it perks; other days, there is a better chance of hell freezing over. Why, you ask? Mostly, because there has been a culture shift whereby management has made it clear that personality beats knowledge time and time again. Technical knowledge and abilities have become less important than soft skills and touchy- feely-ness. Which is bizarre, considering I work for a technology company. There isn’t a lot of loyalty to people that work hard or work smart, which is a pretty hard pill to swallow when you were raised in a home where hard work and common sense came first. While I admit I would rather work with kind people that enjoy their jobs, there ain’t no one having fun in a job where no one knows what the hell is going on or how to do the job.
For those people that do not deserve my loyalty, they will at some point find the following to be true: “I don’t have a short temper, I just have a quick reaction to bullshit.” (author unknown). I don’t play games and I don’t believe in politics of any kind. While that may mean that I don’t have seven-hundred Facebook friends, it also means that the people I devote my time deserve what I have to offer them. I have found that life is too short to waste your time on people that only use you for their own advantage but that don’t really care about you. I have no problem calling people out on their poor behavior. Sometimes the only way to move on is to run across a bridge, turn around, and burn that sucker down. If the person on the other side truly cares, they will work to put the flames out; regardless of whether they do or not, you will know where you stand.
The moral of this story is that I believe there is still room in this world for good, old fashioned work ethic and honesty. I believe that communication is incredibly important in all relationships. And I believe that we have to finish what we start, no matter how painful it might be. In remaining honest to ourselves, it is easier to find what loyalty means to each of us. And knowing what loyalty means to you, means knowing what is important to you, and how to make yourself happy. And that is the most important thing of all.
Until next time, my friends;