Friday, May 30, 2008

The three types of loyalty.

Loyalty is a word you hear with some frequency within the padded walls of most agencies. And since agencies, like virtually all businesses--including government--are social organizations, I thought I'd spend a moment or two ruminating, or even fulminating on the topic.

There are, I conclude, three types of loyalty.

There's loyalty to your boss. As long as your boss recognizes you for your talent and supports and promotes you--even if you happen to be more talented than he or she--you owe that person loyalty.

There's loyalty to your craft. This is adherence to your belief of what good is and being unwavering and uncompromising in that.

And then, most important, there's loyalty to yourself. Belief that your essential talent, determination and such are deserving of respect and reward. This sort of loyalty overlaps with integrity. The moral standards you adhere to in order to uphold your standards. You don't steal. You don't connive. You speak your mind.

The mistake people make is they forget the third type of loyalty--loyalty to yourself. People who ignore that loyalty inherently believe loyalty cuts only one way. Their refrain is usually something like: they give me a paycheck, I give them loyalty. You know, the "I guess I'm lucky to have a job" loyalty.

All I can say to that is, grow up and be loyal.

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