Who you should be loyal to

Hey friend,

I just spent three hours looking at prom dresses on the internet. A new friend has invited me a black-tie ceilidh dinner dance next Friday night (as–get this–a direct response to my talking about how I tend to fancy Scottish ginger men).

I'm too scared to wear tartan. I can foresee a situation where I'm at this dance and someone legitimately recognizes my £60 internet buy as their family tartan. Potentially mortifying. I think I'm opting for burgundy velvet.

Please stay tuned for updates on this thrilling top news story.

Speaking of Highland clan politics, I was reminded this week about something my dad taught me and my brother growing up. I still hear him say it every once in a while...

Be loyal to people, not companies.

In the last few weeks, for one reason or another, I've had multiple conversations with people I've previously worked with in a professional capacity. An old manager. An old client. A former colleague.

These people aren't necessarily colleagues-turned-friends, but a different kind of long-term relationship. They're all business contacts with whom I share mutual trust and would work with again in a heartbeat.

Be loyal to people, not companies.

Have a great job that you love for a company you believe in? Awesome. You're one of the lucky ones. You still can't be loyal to your employer. Why? Because a good business cannot be loyal back. A good business, by definition, makes hard calls and objective decisions about profitability and people. A good business cannot afford to keep you around or promote you just because. A good business just doesn't work that way.

That doesn't mean all business are evil, calm down. It just means that business are not humans. The business itself is an unfeeling entity. The logo cannot care how much you worship at its altar. The masthead will not love you back.

It's so easy to become swallowed into your workplace politics, your devotion to the company mission, your internal progression. You can and should want to achieve great things and, by all means, be a solidly great employee.

But remember that you're playing a long game.

Remember that office is not the whole world.

Remember to also be a thinking human.

In the USA, you're statistically likely to switch jobs four times in your first 10 years of work life. And, according to one study, more than half of Brits are planning on changing career in the next five years.

And with all that motion, it means you're pretty likely to need some help as you dance and skip and crawl and leap from position to position over the years. It's the people that you meet along the way, the incredible business connections who will go down in the history books as the best group project teams ever of all time, who deserve your loyalty. Not the company name on your resume.

You don't have to be loyal to everyone, though I recommend you at least be kind. But if you're ever in a situation where you need to make the call between choosing dedication to the company or kindness to a person who also works there...

I hope you'll remember which one to choose.

Big love,