Ditching Job Loyalty
You sit idly, year by year, waiting to hear yes from someone you don't really respect.
"Can I get a raise this year for my hard work?"
"Can I transfer into a role I'm more interested in?"
As a Freelancer, I'm loyal to no one. Although I work for businesses, help their brand, respect what they do, and give full effort, if things go south for them, who's going to take care of me?
In my Coping With A Slowdown of Business article, there isn't a day that goes by without me reviewing job postings — I have countless email alerts and newsletters, and I follow numerous postings on Twitter. I'm always looking for more opportunities and networking just in case I hit a dry spell.
How does this transition into traditional work?
I don't believe in staying loyal to any brand or business — I never did. Life is fluid, responsibilities change, and we should change our circumstances to accommodate what life throws at us.
Employees get too comfortable in a work space and forget about the world of opportunities available. You look around at coworkers, who don't do half as much as you and wonder, how did I get here? You ask that question every day, and those days become weeks, then months, then years. What are you sticking around for?
When I worked in-house, every job had a 2 year limit. Once I learned everything I needed, it was time to move onto something that paid more, but more importantly for me, something that was more challenging. Between 2013 and 2014 I ran through four different jobs because I needed to push forward to get to my current goal. I was just passing through and visiting those roles. As soon as something better came along, I was gone.
The Many Faces of Loyalty
You may not view your experience at work as being loyal, but you are. Do any of these sound familiar:
You get a weak pay raise every year that you complain about.
You say yes to staying extra hours when you don't want to.
You value one week of overtime pay more than your personal time.
You do more work than your coworkers and you hate it.
You feel stuck in your role.
You think your boss is incompetent.
You spend the whole night at the bar talking about how much you hate your job.
They won't transfer you into another department because "you're too vital to the team".
How many of the eight did you say yes to? So why do you stick around?
Knowing When To Leave
You should be loyal to yourself first. Work can be enjoyable, and it should be, but you need to find the right place that suits you. Ditching job loyalty doesn't mean getting up to leave every time something goes wrong and it doesn't mean waiting until the last minute to find your next growth opportunity. You know what you're looking for in life and what will make you happy. You may take on roles and responsibilities to help you get by in the moment, but the "end goal" is always in the back of your head.
Whether you take a job in the moment because you need money or you start to realize the job you've been in for years is no longer the place for you, start re-polishing your resume and start looking for the next opportunity. The more you review job listings, the more you see how the job market requirements have shifted. This might be an opportunity to learn more in your current role and use it as a stepping stone to get a job that better suits you. Your current role should always lead to happiness and better pay, benefits, and experiences. That's what work should be about.
Ultimate End Goal
A lot of people enjoy freelancing; I find it too inconsistent. It's a temporary life experience that should lead into learning enough about other businesses and trends to hopefully spark your own entrepreneurial spirit. This of course depends on your freelancing role. But the skills I learned in my in-house roles are what allow me to be successful and resourceful as a freelancer. My end goal is to join the entrepreneurial world.
Everyone doesn't have the skills or drive to create their own brand. Although you see articles about it, it's not realistic — and that's OK. But, everyone can build the drive to put themselves in the best possible position available. You should keep pushing yourself professionally until you find your end goal. When you find a career you truly enjoy and are passionate about, the eight things above that make you loyal in your current job won't even matter — you'll gladly stay later to help out, every pay raise will be appreciated, and you'll tell everyone at the bar how great your job is.