Loyalty important at work

Karl Terry

I think modern society has almost completely lost touch with the concept of loyalty.

The most recent example of this was last weekend when basketball superstar LeBron James used free agency to leave the team and fans who had invested seven years in him at Cleveland, taking his talent to a loaded up team in Miami that may be able to fulfill his goal of winning a championship.

While James’ loyalty can be questioned here you also have to wonder about the fans and ownership of the Cleveland Cavaliers who didn’t deport themselves too well either.

With word that their superstar was down the road, fans burned their LeBron jerseys in the streets and the owner launched a tirade at James that wasn’t necessary even though the superstar hadn’t done him the courtesy of a call before he announced his decision to the world on a television special.

These days it’s the same in any workplace it seems from an NBA team to your local hamburger shack. Employees don’t respect bosses or even feel they owe them an inch of room when it comes to job description or expectation. Employers and managers return the favor by complaining that their charges are lazy, quick to jump ship and never willing to go the extra mile.

My wife and I recently rented a movie called “Hachi, a Dog’s Tale” that is loosely based on a dog that was adopted by a professor in Japan in the late 1920s. The dog developed the daily routine of going to the train station each day when his master was due to arrive.

After the professor collapsed and died in the classroom the dog continued to return to the station every day for nine years. Now that’s loyalty.

I work with one older gentleman who, outside of the family farm and a stint in the armed services, has only had two jobs in six or seven decades. He’s proud of that fact and he should be. Others of us, who have worked for more different companies and had more job titles than we can count can’t even fathom that kind of loyalty.

Lots of people up until somewhere in the mid-1980s worked for the same company for years. People retiring with 30, 40 and even 50-year service pins back then were not uncommon.

These days about the only people who have stayed loyal to a job and that job to them are government employees. That, in itself, might tell us something about the problem.

It’s all about entitlement with most people these days. My boss owes me a better salary, better working conditions and more understanding. If he can’t provide those things then I have to put the government on the hook for it.

None of us probably work as hard as we could or should. Few employers appreciate their help like they should and until we get a handle on that problem and start walking hand-in-hand we’re likely in for some rough economic times.

We spend a lot of time at work. A little more loyalty would make that time more bearable.