Allison Miner
nutrition expert, professor

Allison Miner

Expert and public speaker in child, teen and adult nutrition; professor at Prince George's Community College.

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Is loyalty dead?

Q: Wasn't it just yesterday that Google was the coolest company on the planet? The New York Times says the online giant is now seen by techies as a lumbering behemoth, and employees are starting to leave for more nimble companies. Is it possible for an innovator to stay in the lead indefinitely, or is there always a "hungrier" competitor right around the corner? Do large companies offer the same shot at success, or do workers usually have to break away to seek the greater rewards?


The current job market reflects the reality of the 21st century. There is less loyalty to the employee and it's less likely that an employee will be loyal.

This has more to do with the change that is going on in our society as we transition from the industrial age to the information age. While companies like General Motors, Xerox, and AT&T sustained us throughout the 20th century, those behemoths are in the process of changing, and it's painful to experience.

To quote Dwight Schrute from the television show The Office, "Would I ever leave this company? Look, I'm all about loyalty. In fact, I feel like part of what I'm being paid for here is my loyalty. But if there were somewhere else that valued loyalty more highly, I'm going wherever they value loyalty the most."

Today's youth cannot imagine being in one job for years. This entails putting up with the bureaucracy of the organization as it ages and attempts to adapt. Who can blame today's youth for wanting to be part of the fantastic opportunities for innovation needed to address issues such as global warming, alternative energy, and increased globalization?

Not everyone can be as lucky as the star employees at Google who can afford to jump to another company that appears to be a rising major player. In this tight job market, many innovators will have to or want to stay put in order to weather the uncertainty in the U.S. economy.

It sounds like Google offers many opportunities for innovation, but that innovation won't be easy to locate. There's a saying, "Lead from where you stand." There are innovation opportunities in every employment situation -- from an agricultural worker to the vice president of a Fortune 500 company.

Leading where one stands cultivates an equally important trait, such as learning how to be creative in a less than hospitable environment, and this will carry you in lean times. Every employment situation is going to get stale and feel bureaucratic after the honeymoon period ends. Like a good marriage, real innovation takes time but the rewards are great. After all, the tortoise wins the race.

By Allison Miner  |  December 6, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Success in the workplace Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Shape Your Success | Next: Natural evolution

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My question is what came first, employees acting so quick to leave for greener pastures or employers cutting workers from payrolls when business goes bad? I think it's the latter, and if that's the case, good for employees who aren't afraid to consider other options.

In theory I'd prefer to stay with one company for a while. But the truth is I get bored easily, and most of my past employers have lost interest in career development or have decided I'm going to leave anyway so why bother.

AND ... if firms emphasize short-term results over long-term strategic planning, it's no surprise that employees eventually do the same with their careers.

Posted by: callmecarmen | December 6, 2010 11:45 AM
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