When an Employer Asks For Loyalty

There is a warning flag that goes off when I am in an interview.  A siren of words and a conversation that would be bosses want to have, they say it like this, “you would have to make sacrifices.” or they say “We just want to make sure you will be here for a while.”  The former is the most vile the latter is a question of slavery. There is only one reason I am coming at this with a negative approach and that is that these are questions of loyalty that need to be earned.

The first and worst is normally asked to anyone who would be put in a leadership position. The question is, would you put your personal life on the back burner forever? Would you put your family second, you put your marriage on the altar to make this company a success? Instead of being a father, husband, or have a romantic life, or go out on adventures be here for us, work for us, give us all your energy, your best ideas, all your enthusiasm. Be our devotee. They put you in the place of a liar when they ask this question, unless, your work is more important than your family and the memories you should make, the regrets and family disasters  I have seen come from putting work first.

I would rather be a pauper than abandon my children and put money in my place. Marriages end at the altar of success. What you have gained isn’t comparable to what you have lost. The most sinister part is you could be fired, the company could go under, or worse yet, you are no longer what they want and they replace you. Companies have no obligation to care for you.

The second question. How long will you be here? What they want is a commitment of years. They want you to stay still, they don’t want you to pursue opportunities, for two reasons, the first is they don’t want to have to go through the hiring process again and the second is they train you and want you to do that job.  They want you to commit years of your life to a job you may hate, or a job that might be a stepping stone for you. What bothers me most about this question is they also want to know what you want to do in the next five years. I look at them and say, “Well, that all depends on if I get this job right, then my plans change.” Let’s be honest, some jobs are just a year job, they aren’t a career, but  just there to get you on your feet. You are going to work there but actively seek better employment by either moving up or out. So, for them to ask for this commitment as a barrier to entry is ridiculous. I think the best people don’t want to stay in that postion forever but they will do their best so they can promote out of it. Once again being asked this question makes us a liar, because we have to lie to get the job.

That is my rant on these two questions that get me. the simple reason is they are asking for loyalty instead of earning it. If you get into a leadership position then yes, you will sacrifice, you will find the balance between what is a priority in the moment and what can wait. You might miss small events but be there for the important ones, but it is up to you to decide when those are. The same goes for how long do you plan on bieng with us, if the job sucks you will be actively looking for a new job as soon as possible, you don’t want to waste your time being miserable because you said you would stay there. Not every job or position is worth the sacrifice they want you to make.

But, your passion, your purpose, your dreams and ambition will require you to make sacrifices, they will pull you away form family and friends from time to time. They will require long hours, mental struggle, and the understanding that you are a means to an end, you are not the end.

End of rant.