When Staying Makes you Less a Loyal Than Leaving

As a Millennial, I’ve heard we are less loyal to organizations than previous generations. Like some of my peers who are on the older side of the Millennial spectrum, early on I fought against those stereotypes. I decided to be super-loyal to an organization!

Although I saw some of the most savage and disheartening layoffs take place on a consistent basis, I stayed. Although my salary was capped (for years), I stayed. Although my growth started to stagnate, I stayed.

Staying at that organization actually made me less loyal. I wasn’t even really loyal to the organization, when I think about it. I was more loyal to the ideals of the organization, while the reality of the business practices were in direct conflict with my personal values. With all that focus on “loyalty”, I somehow forgot to be loyal to my goals, my dreams, and my family.

If you are wondering whether or not you fit into this loyalty-letdown category, ask yourself:

1. When was the last time I learned something new at work?

2. When was I last challenged to search for new growth opportunities?

3. Do I sit in the car outside of the office lamenting the thought of going into the building? (…No really, I did that.)

4. What are my financial goals? Will staying here help me achieve those goals?

5. Overall, am I more productive than I was last year on this job? How? And why?

Just as there are risks to food staying too long in the oven, there are risks to staying too long within an organization. Employee engagement is a hot topic these days. It boils down to the fact that disengaged workers do their organization a disservice because they do not contribute by creating new ways to do the two things businesses need most: implementing cost reduction measures, and thinking of increased revenue opportunities.

Loyalty to organizations is important, but in the midst of doling out loyalty points, pay yourself first.

By Ryan Mitchell, Ph.D

Dr. Ryan N. Mitchell is a speaker, a teacher, an instructional designer, and a mentor to many. He is an expert in business communication, virtual management, and organizational development.