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Discussion on: How much loyalty do you owe your employer?

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Kasey Speakman

If I could nuance what you are saying, it doesn't quite feel right to paint the employer-employee relationship with the same brush as with my cousin for example. But in general, yes every relationship has its breaking point. Especially when one of the people is taking advantage and not trying.

I feel like many employers default to expecting the employee to do all the trying in the relationship. I have experienced that before anyway. It seems a predisposition because they hold most of the cards. So I guess point being I tend to look with a little more skepticism at the particular business relationship that is employer-to-employee. I'm more optimistic with person-to-person... that there can be a virtuous cycle of kindness begetting kindness as opposed to mutually-beneficial score-keeping.

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee • Edited on

I'm more interested in how things should be (and saying/doing something about it). You're right in that it often is treated as "I hold all the cards" but... Do they?

As for the selfish nature (and I say that without any negative connotation whatsoever) of interpersonal interactions of any sort, it's not about scorekeeping.

That's a terrible approach (and quite frankly the one a lot of - I daresay most - self-proclaimed "selfless" people take), and one in which very little is actually exchanged as people grow wise to its parasitic, duty-bound, guilt-ridden nature.

Done right, it's a recognition that to have your needs and expectations met by others, you have to be willing and able to meet theirs. That whether it's respect, loyalty, performance, love, or anything else worthwhile in life, it has to be earned (and should be expected when you've earned it) and that nobody should feel any obligation to give to another what they're not willing to earn.

The cheating partner has no reason to expect their partner's continued fidelity. The abusive parent has no reason to expect their child's love. The cheapskate boss has no reason to expect an underpaid employee to give them their best work or stick around at all. The lazy employee has no reason to expect continued employment. And so on.

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Mike Bybee • Edited on

And FWIW I've absolutely had bosses I love like family. I still call one of them "Boss" to this day, well over a decade after we worked together, because she always sought to make the working relationship mutually beneficial, and knew that developing the best in me was in her own interest even if I someday became her boss.

As I alluded to above, she earned both my respect and my (non-romantic) love.