After a decade of working, I can confidently declare that company loyalty is overrated. I should know, I’m already on my fifth or sixth company. Honestly, I have lost count. The longest I have stayed anywhere is 2 and a half years.
I can also confidently say that if I had stayed with my first company, I would not have had the learning experiences, exposure, and let’s face it, salary that I have now.
In my first couple of years in my career, I slogged it out in companies for months despite the giant red flags and dead-end alleys, because I bought into the idea of “company loyalty”. I thought it would reflect badly on me if my resume showed that I quit a job in months. You see, my parents did not raise a quitter.
They did, however, raise someone who got very near to mental breakdowns due to believing in “company loyalty”. In fact, after those few years, I gave up on the idea of “company loyalty”.
Here are my 3 reasons why company loyalty is so overrated:
1) Companies can be toxic, or have become toxic
The first reason is obvious, which is that the company you joined is a toxic place. It is not like you would be able to tell before you joined and immersed yourself into the environment.
Much as you are expected to appeal to the company, the company is also trying to appeal itself to you as a great place to work. A desperate HR executive would tell you anything to get you to join the company and fill their KPIs.
I have, of course, worked in toxic environments. In fact, my very first job was in a toxic environment, at which I lasted exactly eight months. It was around 7.5 months too long, but I was new to the working world and desperate not to be labelled as someone who quit a job early.
In fact, I wanted to last a year long just so my resume would look good, but was lucky enough to be poached by another company so that I could quit.
The only constant is change, and even companies that were not toxic when you joined could become toxic in the blink of an eye. Think nepotism or your employer playing favourites. Then there’s my absolute favourite – doing other people’s jobs because you are so good at your own job, the reward is other people’s jobs.
These places do not deserve your skills or loyalty, and you should walk when you have the ability to do so.
2) Your career growth has stopped at your current position
Perhaps your company is not a toxic place, but your career has reached a dead-end. You are stuck doing the same thing day in and day out, because your company is not capable of promoting you or helping you grow.
Of course, this depends on what you want out of life. This would be a sweet deal for some of us. For those of us who are bored at work or are seeking something different out of work, however, this alone is a good reason to seek another company to work at.
I was once told straight up that my work contributions were not enough to justify a promotion for me, despite having worked hard for a year towards the goal of being promoted.
So I promoted myself by jumping to another company that could afford to provide me with the position and stage I needed to challenge myself and grow instead.
3) You’re not financially compensated properly for your skills
Finally, the simplest reason to leave a company is that your salary is not an adequate exchange for your skills. Sure, HR will drone on and on about market rate, but let’s face it, market rate is only adequate for the below average or average performer.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I do not think that salary should be the sole consideration of whether you should leave a job. Perhaps you have a good relationship with your current colleagues, or your company is transparent about how they will compensate you if you consistently meet and complete goals, or a pandemic will hit and everyone’s salaries will be temporarily decreased.
In fact, a high salary does not guarantee that the job is right for you either. I have seen high earners send emails at 3 in the morning, which is not my thing. I prefer to sleep and have a healthy lifestyle, even if I will be paid triple my salary to not do so.
However, if you are sure of your own worth, feel free to walk away to search for the best pastures that will give you what you need and deserve. If you are truly worth it, someone will see your worth and pay for it.
The world has a lot of people earning a good salary that pays the bills and lets them have an enjoyable life. You might as well be one of them.
Loyalty is a two-way street. If your company wants you to be loyal, they should provide a supportive environment, help you grow in your career, and also pay you adequately. Only then we can talk about “company loyalty” as something worth having.