A dangerous loyalty

A diplomat famously pointed out that countries do not have friends, they have shared interests. Similarly, organisations do not have feelings, they have contracts.

People have feelings, organisations don’t so any loyalty shown by an individual to an organisation cannot be reciprocated. Having said that, there are obviously personal relationships between ourselves and those with whom we have contact within an organisation, for example, a manager, a sales person, and so on but, when organisational exigencies come into play, the contracts trump the relationships!

We tend to forget that organisations are a construct, an entity, a forgetfulness encouraged by much of their (or should it be “it’s”?) advertising designed to have us think of the organisation as having feelings and to encourage our ‘loyalty’ (this is particularly obvious when it comes to customers).

When you leave an organisation, the people in it may miss you but the organisation most certainly will not – unless you have something it needs. This does not mean that you should not care or not keep your word when you enter into commitments (contracts/promises) with organisations. In a similar vein, there is no reason to ‘get even’ or become bitter about the way an organisation has treated you. When it comes to the crunch, and organisations are faced with needing to make staff cuts, a restructure, or a change to supply-lines, they look to contracts and requirements, not feelings.

Being absolutely clear about the above will help you to avoid becoming too emotionally attached to an organisation you work for, or deal with, and the consequent distress you may experience when it no longer requires your services – even though it is simply exercising its contractual obligations to you and to whoever governs/owns it.

In terms of looking after your personal well-being, it is wise to not confuse your personal feelings of loyalty with your contractual obligations because to do so can lead to quite a bit of anguish and stress about ‘the injustice’ and ‘lack of caring’ (of course, if there has been a breach of contract, it may rightly need to be pursued).

In short, becoming embittered over a perceived failure to sufficiently acknowledge your ‘contribution’ (loyalty) will have no effect upon an organisation but it can have a profound effect upon you so you may care to reflect upon what your contract looks like – especially if it isn’t written down or is assumed?

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