Recently, my memory was refreshed to a time when a friend of mine was asked during an interview, where she saw herself in the next 3 years. It's a typical question about career plans and future goals. She answered the question honestly, based on the path she was focused on. She later found out that she didn't get the job. The reason she didn't get the job was because the hiring manager felt like she wouldn't be loyal and committed to the organization long term and her plans didn't align with the plans of his team and the organization, since they were looking for someone that would be committed long term. DEEP SIGH!!!
Like are you kidding me?!?!?!
So, as of late, I've really been in my feelings about this entire concept of organizational commitment and loyalty. I have a number of thoughts and definitely some unkind expletives, but I'll hold them for another time and use this post to help you prioritize your perspective. It's shameful for a company to expect it's employees to be LOYAL to them, especially knowing full well that part of your employment agreement, offer letter, employee handbook and even the application process, are quite clear that in no way is your employment guaranteed and it can and will be revoked for any number of conditions, violations or nothing at all. So to that end, I want to use this post to highlight some of the reasons that you should never consider organizational loyalty and job security over personal career planning.
Organizational Loyalty vs. Personal Loyalty - the fact that this should even be called out is a problem in itself. Organizational loyalty implies that YOU are going to commit to working for a company, team, in a role or job for an indeterminate amount of time. This duration could occur regardless of any factor that may cause the organization to become less than favorable to you and your personal needs. It also implies that you are agreeing to be locked into your role for a set amount of time. If there is some benefit to you, that's AWESOME. If you're guaranteed a specific salary, benefits or other perks for a specific duration that is an amicable situation. But if a company is demanding you work for them for a set time with no real commitment to you beyond "well, at least you know you'll have a job"...I have to call B**S**. Be loyal to your personal career goals. If you have a plan for your career that unfolds over 3-5 years and it doesn't include a specific organization or company, you don't deserve to be penalized for that either. It's 100% acceptable for you define clear goals for yourself. Not doing so will lead to your personal failure. Don't allow the demands of a company to bully you into forgetting the demands you have for yourself. Loyalty, like charity, should begin at home.
Organizational Loyalty vs. Job Security - No organization should force you into a long term relationship by dangling job security in your face. If you don't have it in writing...you don't have it.
No amount of "If I hire you, I need you to stay for XX years" equates to "I'm signing you to the XX year job offer at XX salary and bonus over the course of XX years". The former only says, yeah I'm hiring you but, to be clear, I'm hiring you...just you, not your goals, aspirations or future developed self. Do you see the difference? The latter is a mutually beneficial relationship that allows you to reap as well as the organization. Some employers use employment as a form of control. Statements like "well, times are hard so we are all fortunate to have a job" are manipulative, demeaning and controlling. Saying that to any adult is not constructive; it's passive aggressive, horribly mean and borderline dehumanizing. An employer should be proud to identify a candidate that has a clear career path and plan; and a candidate who is focused on achieving their career goals. Additionally, job security is an elusive unicorn. The current job market is ever-changing and roles that were necessary to the workforce 2,3 or 5 years ago, are not relevant today. If you are not entering into a trending market, you should strongly evaluate the length of time an organization is asking you to stick around.
I am definitely NOT telling you to reject accepting a job. I am suggesting that you make the decision based on what is best for you and NOT what is best for the company, hiring manager or organization. Consider what is important for you and your family. When the question of where you see yourself in 3...5...10 years comes up, be honest and committed to your plan and your path. If the job fits into your personal roadmap great. As I say this, I am mindful that some people will feel like, they will take the job simply because they need to work or have some hardship they need to overcome. I understand. But even in hardship, I still say weigh decisions based on your needs and not the needs of the machine. As much as you are able, don't make permanent decisions in temporary situations.
I say this all of the time, and this time will be no different. It's okay to choose yourself. Be selfish if that means making sure your needs are met and goals are reached. You don't need anyone's permission to chose you or do what's best for you. You have permission.
If you need some help trying to navigate pending job offers or career decisions, I encourage you to schedule a call with me. You can do have the career that you design....you have permission.
These are absolutely my thoughts...