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The Death of Loyalty

Some of us are still trying to recover our senses from the last five years of recession. Ten years ago, the economy was in slow transition that most of us didn’t really understand; now the economy has experienced a radical paradigm shift that forces us to abandon all the old rules of employment.

Something all of us must accept is the new nature of employment. There are no careers anymore (for most of us), nor can there be any loyalty to anybody or any company. No matter how secure you think your situation is, there’s always the possibility you’ll be tossed out of your comfort zone (i.e. released from your job). The odds of it happening are much higher than you think. So, for the sake of your sanity, you must return the favor. At any time, and at every opportunity, you should be prepared to leave your current company and position for something that’s better, even if it’s only marginally better than your current position. In an L-shaped recession with no recovery and slow growth and no safety net, “at the margin” makes a big difference.

You should always be looking for something new and something better. Even the features of company employment that might produce some loyalty, such as stock or pensions or a 401k, are not guaranteed. The 401k could be imploded by inflation or taxation because of an indebted government desperate for funds, and any stock options could become worthless thanks to unscrupulous CEOs manipulating the price or hedge funds dumping the stock to pay expenses or just from the common vagaries of the stock market.

And health insurance is going to be a joke. Either it’s going to eat a giant chunk of your paycheck, or you’re going to pay the tax for not having it, or the government is going to give you a plan nothing short of worthless. You’re just going to have to accept the fact you’re going to live with any condition you have for a long time, and be stuck using emergency rooms for anything that won’t go away after resting a few days. Or you can become rich and be able to afford your own care, but it’s going to take a while before you get there, if you’re lucky.

A former coworker put it best, and I’m going to hijack his statement. His philosophy is that whatever job he’s working is just a job. It’s no longer part of his identity. “It’s not what I do, it’s just what I’m doing now.” And so you should follow.

With any job, “It’s not what you do, it’s what you’re doing now.”

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