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    Friday, September 21, 2007

    Loyal, Like a Dog

    A man I used to work for once told me that the problem with my generation is that we have no loyalty.  I sat and listened, while he spoke of his children, who were roughly my age, and how they were never loyal to their employers, and how they were self-centered, selfish even.  Yet, from what I knew about his kids, they stood up for themselves, and had a fairly low tolerance for bullshit.  Interesting how he considered this a bad thing.

    Gina brought this up the other day, in the context of letters of recommendation.  That when a superior writes a letter for a (usually former) subordinate, that even if the superior thinks that he is being complimentary by describing that person as "loyal," isn't that really faint praise, or even a mild insult?  Certainly when you work for a company, you have certain obligations, duties, and responsibilities to keep.  To call someone conscientious of those obligations, duties, and responsibilities, that seems like a positive descriptor.  To call someone loyal sounds like you can shit all over them, and they just keep taking it.  Like a dog.  You train him, you tie him up in the backyard, you feed him meat unfit for human consumption, you snip his balls off, and in return, he licks your hand and is loyal.  Yeah, he's loyal.  Good dog.  No thanks. 

    Comments on "Loyal, Like a Dog"


    Blogger Kat said ... (8:58 AM, September 21, 2007) : 

    Interesting.... Right on, bro!


    Blogger Gina Ventre said ... (10:14 AM, September 21, 2007) : 

    Especially in light of yesterday's conversation.

    It's one of my least favorite character traits. I've been loyal to an absolute fault and it didn't feel good.


    Blogger Kristen said ... (11:09 AM, September 21, 2007) : 

    Hmm...I guess I don't connotate loyalty with blind following. I'm very loyal but I'm still going to tell you like it is. I don't think they are mutually exclusive things.


    Blogger anne said ... (1:59 PM, September 21, 2007) : 

    True loyalty is more like devotion and allegiance. People who are loyal to their jobs feel more than just forced obligation, they feel proud of being associated with their company. I think personal loyalty is profound. I am fiercely loyal to my friends, but it doesn't mean that I let them walk all over me. It means that I'll forgive you and stand up for you to others and let you be who you are.

    Naive dogged faith can be disgusting and degrading, but that doesn't mean that loyalty itself is a bad trait.


    Blogger Tom said ... (2:07 PM, September 21, 2007) : 

    I am loyal to my friends, family and my country (most of the time), but my employer? I think not. My employer is an entity that pays me for providing a service, nothing more nothing less. Unless one has a personal stake in a company, loyalty could be detrimental to one's own advancement.

    How often do we hear about companies being overly loyal to their employees? A corporation's main goal is to turn a profit. If you are in the way you get pushed to the side. Even places like Progressive, known for being employee friendly, are dumping people left and right with little or no severence.

    Nice post, Michael. Interesting way of interpreting boss-speak.


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