I’m just back down at my desk in work from a small celebration of a colleague’s 5 year anniversary. It’s making me wonder if beyond the paycheck there’s much point to company loyalty.
I don’t work for a company that values its employees and if I had have known it would be as miserable working here as it is, then I would have probably not joined.
I left one company in 2015 after thinking that they would fire me (there was a mass cull of the dead wood at the time and they made me an offer I could not refuse – and it suited my plans to become the GFFather. I moved job, moved house, started the family and never looked back.
“A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”
Part of growing up and maturing is learning to sacrifice the idealism of your youth and to learn to compromise. Nothing’s all that black and white but different shades of grey. I’ve made my choices and stand by them but I can’t say that they are perfect.
But I’m coming up 4 years now in the company and since in my job I get to visit a lot of other companies and see how they work – I know that the grass is greener on the other side. I stick it out now because I’m a pragmatist and anything much better would be much harder or involve an ungodly commute – who wants to do that?
Many happy returns
Anyway, today a boss in the company comes to tell us to come upstairs for a colleague’s 5th anniversary award. I had only eaten breakfast this morning and thought maybe we’ll have cakes or something like that – (I know it’s not good for me but I’m hungry!)
So we all trot upstairs and my colleague who has been in the company since he graduated is awarded a transparent magnetic photo frame with a certificate saying “In appreciation of 5 years…”.
The photo frame is similar to what is shown below and costs £3.65 but since there’s a load of these going around, we probably got a bulk discount.
There was nothing else – no gift voucher for a meal or £20 to spend at M&S. Nothing at all. And it transpires that this is the type of present you get on all your milestones here. We even have to pay for our own Christmas party.
The photo frame and certificate are symbolic of how the company appreciates you and my feeling is that they don’t really appreciate us and maybe that’s alright. If loyalty is a natural human trait, are HR trained to learn how to abuse this to maximise employee output for minimal (of £3.65 whichever is lower) cost?
In my previous company (with a final salary pension) there was a feeling that you were working for the collective and that loyalty would be rewarded. Ok, that is idealism and rose-tinted memories but it certainly was a big feature of life there. Those pensions are generally unsustainable but there’s not much reason for me to keep working in this company barring the annual bonus. It means that loyalty over time just becomes career inertia.
In this company and I think every other company I will work for, I’ll be considering what’s the pay off for me now because 5 years is too long to wait for a disappointment like that.
So what’s your take on workplace loyalty? What would you expect for 5 years at a company or 10 year or 20 years? Does it make it worth the wait?