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Is company loyalty dead?

I just want to see what other people think is happening to company loyalty. In the old days it was not uncommon to enter a company after leaving school, and stay there for a number of years (if not most of your working life).

Nowadays a very high proportion of resumes I receive have applications who drift around from job to job. Never more than 12 months in one place. For companies like mine the ramp-up time can be quite long (6-12 months) and so hiring somebody who decides to leave within a year is a waste of both parties time.

So what is it - unattractive/uninspiring workplaces? or is "the grass always greener on the other side" for developers?

Not Telling
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I think we're coming out of a phase when companies felt little loyalty to their employees, thus encouraging employees to remain mobile.  This is an inevitable result of the "rightsizing" nineties, and it'll be a while before companies and people think about long-term relationships again.

Myself, in particular, grew up hearing that the days of lifetime employment are over, that companies will screw you in a heartbeat, and that you have to act like a contractor to protect yourself.  I know a lot of other people did, too, and it was reinforced by the corporate shenanigans of the last decade. 

Justin Johnson
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Yes, you are absolutely correct: companies no longer exhibit any loyalty to their employees, discarding them without ceremony, whenever it can possibly be called an unavoidable "reduction-in-force".

Oh wait... that was not your point, was it?

Freddy
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

IMHO company loyalty died ages ago. The straw that broke the camel's back was the ruthless manner in which employers downsized, (or 'rightsized' if you're into corporate HR waffle) reorganized, and shafted their employees during the late 1990s. That effectively killed the remaining lack of trust in both directions, and encouraged a "dog eat dog" competitiveness in the job market with people moving on more regularly.

Besides, nobody tends to stay in the same job for more than 2  to 3 years anyway. If you do, there's a real danger your career will stagnate. In any case, you're in a better position to get a pay rise if you move to a new job...

TheGeezer
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Fermilab is performing some very sophisticated
tests to see if they can detect company
loyalty somewhere in the fabric of space and
time at either the macro or micro scale. They
expect to find the elusive higgs boson before
company loyalty.

son of parnas
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Well, my point is that me and my ilk were raised to expect no loyalty from the company, therefore we owed none to the company.  The premise of a lifelong relationship with one organization was smashed in the nineties, and now neither companies nor employees feel or expect much loyalty to each other.

Justin Johnson
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Once I worked at  a small restaurant that closed and sold off all it's supplies over the weekend.  I showed up monday morning and the place was vacant.  They never paid me for my last 2 weeks either.

Fast forward about 10 years to my job at the VC-funded Biotech who layed me off 1 week after reducing my salary by 50%.

1 year later my boss promised me a raise and promotion, then lied to me when it didn't happen.

Loyalty was not something I expect.  It takes time.

Sassy
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I thought company loyalty has never been present in hi-tech, and everybody usually jumps around every couple years.

I remember this debate even in the late 80's...

Ron
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Where our parents and grandparents could adhere to concepts like "loyalty", we are left to adhere to  amuch simpler, if less emotionally satisfying concept - mutual benefit.

That is to say, any business relationship will remain intact so long as it is mutually beneficial.  No longer will the company say "gee, we've hit a real rough patch these past three quarters, but Hal's a nice guy, so we'll keep him on as long as we can" - instead, layoffs appear sooner rather than later.

By the same token, employees are less inclined to think "gee, this is such a good company to work for, I'll go ahead and accept a pay cut and a total stripping of benefits.  Things will turn up eventually" - instead, the employee dusts off his resume and starts surfing Monster on company time.

Mutual benefit.  Learn the phrase, because it's all we have left these days.

www.ChristopherHawkins.com
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Honest to God, your company will screw you over it it benefits them in the slightest. Why whould I be loyal to an organization like that?

Clutch Cargo
Wednesday, June 16, 2004


WTF are you talking about? US companies?

A Dingo Ate My Baby
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Is technology becoming too good?

Do you feel as technology becomes better, easier to use, point-click, drag-drop, that people are really not as depending as much on the tech staff.(of course we know this, maybe it is an answer to the question).

"Hey!", "the network installed", "the software is installed", "why do we need the geek to sit around all day surfing the net?" (I am a geek too, I am trying to think like a manager)

I know in software development, industry specific companies(oil-gas , government, example) are keeping small development shops,
web-developer, couple of programmers and then sending out most of the software development work to contractors for 2-3 year projects, here is $2-million dollars, give me some software.

Berlin Brown
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

It has gotten to the point that being at a company for a long time can be a liability, which is kind of sad.

Bill Rushmore
Thursday, June 17, 2004

Loyalty requires a relationship.  Employees mostly don't have relationships with their employers any more: we have "deals".

Grumpy Old-Timer
Thursday, June 17, 2004

No loyalty the other way, I'm afraid.

Between layoffs to maintain "good numbers" and companies that are halfway to out of business, it's hard to keep a job.

Also, there is the phenomenon of salary stagnation. Start a job, get 3% raises, pretty soon the new hires are making 20% or more above what you are making. So you leave, to get a freshly adjusted salary, and of course all your knowledge of the company goes out the door with you.

frustrated
Thursday, June 17, 2004

Companies are not people.  You can't have a relationship with a thing -- that would be one-sided and idiotic.

Loyalty is a very, very admirable thing when between two people.  It's a stupid, stupid, mechanical lemming-process when applied to an artificial legal construction.

Companies never deserve to be treated as if they were people, despite what modern US laws and courts might say regarding the application of such things as the Bill of Rights.

(Don't give me that crap about the owners being people.  Either an owner *is* the company, or it is *not* the company.  You don't get to shirk responsibility of an activity through incorporation and notions of single-minded fiscal responsibility, but then hope to retain the human aspects like demands of loyalty.  Only unthinking chumps fall for that.)

dearest
Thursday, June 17, 2004

In modern society most of us no longer have extended families living close together. We live in suburbs or cities where there is no sense of community with your neighbors. The company or organization is the closest thing many of us have to a family group. So it would be nice, maybe, if there were loyalty in both directions.
I don't feel any loyalty when my boss says he would like me and Fred to be inter-changeable (I am starting to have nightmares about buses). There are people in this office (not developers) who have been here 20 years. But I don't think it's loyalty so much as having nothing better to do.
I think for a developer it's more interesting, maybe, to move around. I feel that modern life is very unnatural because we evolved to live in small stable groups. But too bad.

Dr. Real PC
Thursday, June 17, 2004

Don't confuse the company for the people in it.  That mistake is deadly.  You can have great relationships with the people, but a company will not respond to foolish anthropomorphism.

I am loyal to specific people in my company, including at least one executive, but I have none whatsoever to the company.  When I leave, that will cause trouble for some people -- even some good friends -- but everyone I care about there will do fine regardless.  Half your job might be to work towards having your departure help your friends and harm your opponents.

Don't let childish illusions guide your thinking.  Companies are not people.  People at companies are not the company.  Chant that if you're in the silly rut of thinking otherwise.

dearest
Thursday, June 17, 2004

" People at companies are not the company."

I understand where you're coming from, but this is nonsense. If you've been screwed over by your employer, some _person_ made that decision to screw you, not a stack of incorporation documents in a filing cabinet. A corporation is run by people, so I don't think it is silly or wrong to "anthropomorhize" them.

Rob VH
Thursday, June 17, 2004

In a small shop, yes, there's a person.

In a big shop, especially a public corp, you're dealing with a group of people - insiders - directors, execs, the board, the majority shareholders.

When layoffs come, they come from a group, from a policy.  Rarely from a single person with a finger on a button.

The fact remains that the CYA attitude of most senior execs means that your job is always at risk.  It's all about those quarterly bonuses and option grants.  You're a fool if you think otherwise,

Survival, baby.

Sassy
Thursday, June 17, 2004

Absolutely Rob.  A corollary to my point is to not mischaracterize the situation by thinking the company did this, the company did that.  Again, companies are not people, and so do not "deserve" anything, including spite, much less something important like loyalty.

When we lump our fellows into and out of some grouping not of our own conception, we misunderstand the situation.  When we misunderstand, we're likely to *act* foolishly.  We're guided strongly in all things by our attitudes, and a silly attitude usually leads to silly action.  That a company is the worker, or is the executives, or is the owners, is also such a mischaracterization.

The essential center is that Loyalty or Gratitude or Anger or Malevolence or Love are never, ever due an externally conceived group, but often are due individuals of that group.  Also, it is not their membership that makes such things due.

I don't resent the company for a 3% raise, but I surely resent the CEO, the Controller, the VP of HR, and the minor paper shuffler who gave it to me -- at least until I can narrow down the exact culprits.  Likewise I have no loyalty to the company, but I'm not as surely wrong to be loyal to the person who hired me, or somebody who helps me in my efforts, or somebody who I merely admire and trust.  Again, a company is not the people, a company is not the people, but that cuts both ways.

dearest
Thursday, June 17, 2004

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