Does loyalty cost you your career?

They have been loyal to the job and the company but with a swift change in the business environment, the roles are no longer needed, and people are left feeling devalued, inadequate and lost.

Dice with letters on them spelling word 'LOYALTY'
Where does your loyalty get you?

Charles Dickens classic tale of  'A Christmas Carol’, depicting the character Scrooge and his employee Bob Cratchet, is a good example of how employees, no matter how they are treated or supported, believe in loyalty to their company / employer. Bob stuck at his job, keeping going regardless of his own personal success. But does this sense of duty or loyalty negatively impact your long term career or does it work in your favour?

“The clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that
it looked like only one coal”
Bob Cratchit - A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I deal with a lot of people who sit in the first camp, especially as they have been put in a redundancy situation. They have been loyal to the job and the company but with a swift change in the business environment, the roles are no longer needed, and people are left feeling devalued, inadequate and lost.

I've also seen people, myself included, waiting for their manager to recognise their contribution and give them supportive coaching in order to help them develop their careers. This is generally down to the belief that if ' you work hard, you'll get recognised and rewarded'. Sometime it does work but what else could you have been doing whilst you were waiting?

4 pink chairs - lady in red suit sat on end chair on the right
What are you waiting for?

So why do we stay loyal?

Reasons Why People Stay Loyal:

  1. Sense of Belonging: Employees may feel a strong connection and camaraderie within their company, fostering loyalty through meaningful relationships and a supportive work environment.
  2. Opportunities for Growth: Companies offering avenues for advancement and skill development can inspire loyalty by enabling employees to pursue their professional aspirations within the organisation.
  3. Recognition and Rewards: Acknowledging and rewarding employees for their contributions fosters a sense of loyalty and motivation to continue excelling in their roles.
  4. Job Security: Stability and security provided by a current position may lead individuals to stay loyal to the company to maintain their livelihoods, especially in uncertain economic times.
  5. Investment in Well-being: Companies prioritising employee well-being with benefits and work-life balance initiatives can cultivate loyalty by demonstrating care for their holistic needs.

Why Loyalty May Not Be Helping Them:

  1. Stagnation: Blind loyalty may lead individuals to remain in roles that no longer challenge or fulfill them, hindering professional growth and advancement.
  2. Limited Opportunities: Despite loyalty, individuals may find themselves overlooked for promotions or developmental opportunities, limiting their career progression within the organisation.
  3. Complacency: A sense of security and familiarity may breed complacency, causing individuals to resist change or take risks that could lead to new opportunities and growth.
  4. Mismatched Values: Loyalty to a company whose values no longer align with one's own may create internal conflict and hinder engagement and motivation.
  5. Underappreciation: Despite loyalty and dedication, individuals may feel undervalued or unappreciated, leading to decreased morale and satisfaction in their roles.

Some of these may resonate, some may not.

How does your loyalty at work hinder you?

Why Loyalty May Be Helping Them:

  1. Career Stability: Loyalty can provide a sense of stability and continuity, allowing individuals to build upon their experience and expertise over time.
  2. Internal Advocacy: Demonstrating loyalty and commitment may garner support and advocacy from supervisors and colleagues, opening doors to new opportunities and career advancement.
  3. Organisational Knowledge: Long-term loyalty often equates to deep institutional knowledge and understanding, positioning individuals as valuable assets within the organisation.
  4. Relationship Building: Loyalty fosters strong relationships and networks within the company, which can be leveraged for mentorship, support, and collaboration.
  5. Personal Fulfilment: For some, loyalty to a company aligned with their values and goals can contribute to a sense of purpose and fulfilment in their careers.
How does your loyalty at work help you?

Understanding Loyalty's Impact on Career Advancement:

To make informed career decisions, individuals need to recognise how loyalty may influence their professional trajectory. While loyalty can be commendable and often seen as noble, it's essential to evaluate whether it aligns with one's career goals and aspirations. Blind loyalty that hinders proactive career advancement or overlooks opportunities for growth can impede progress and limit potential.

Individuals should be aware of the following factors to ensure loyalty does not obstruct their career advancement:

  1. Personal Aspirations: Understand your career goals, interests, and values to assess whether your current role and company align with your long-term objectives.
  2. Market Value: Stay informed about industry trends, market demand for skills, and salary benchmarks to gauge your worth in the job market and negotiate effectively for advancement opportunities.
  3. Opportunity Cost: Consider the potential costs of remaining loyal to a company that may not provide adequate growth opportunities or recognition for your contributions, compared to exploring new avenues for career advancement elsewhere.
  4. Feedback and Performance: Actively seek feedback on your performance, identify areas for improvement, and advocate for yourself to ensure your contributions are recognised and rewarded accordingly.

In navigating the loyalty dilemma, individuals must strike a delicate balance between commitment to their organisations and pursuit of personal and professional growth. While loyalty can offer stability, advocacy, and fulfilment, blind allegiance may lead to stagnation, missed opportunities, and unfulfilled potential. By critically evaluating the reasons for their loyalty and actively seeking avenues for growth and advancement, individuals can harness the power of loyalty to propel their careers forward while staying true to themselves and their aspirations.

Would you like support in raising your awareness and considering where you are now in your career. Please email me at or book a discovery call to see explore how coaching may help you.