What ever happened to Loyalty?

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My adult daughter recently applied for two different jobs after working for four years at one company. Her resume showed her advancing from part time to full time to a counter manager position. I remember thinking after reviewing her resume before she sent it out that a hiring manager would really like what they see. She stayed put at one company for four years taking on greater and greater responsibility. That is someone worth investing in.

What surprised me is in two of the interviews she went on (for two different companies) both of the managers who interviewed her asked why she was at one company so long? I was floored when she told me they asked her that. Four years is a long time to be at one company? On what planet? I was talking to a salesman that I work with about this, who also has adult children in the job market, and he said that colleges are telling kids to jump ship every couple of years. So maybe this generation is just getting bad advice, at least in my opinion.

The primary job of management is to get and keep good people. If management does a good job at that, all the other functions of managing a company just got a lot easier. If I as a hiring manager get a resume and it shows the person changing jobs every year or even every other year I would ask them (and myself) why should I invest in you? Why should I spend valuable time and money to teach and train you, and make you better at your job if you are only going to stay at my company for a year or two? My answer to that question is often I wouldn't! Job hopping on a resume is a big red flag to me. It often means that they couldn't keep a job and had to leave or worse they were fired. Or it could mean that they don't have patience and perseverance. Maybe they expect to be CEO within their first year and don't understand why no one sees their awesome abilities. I do think that too many kids coming out of college think they should be handed a top position in a company when they have yet to prove that they can actually do anything in the real world. Maybe its part of our "instant satisfaction" society. No one thinks they should have to wait or work for anything. I think that comes from giving "participation trophies". These are trophies awarded simply because you showed up. Don't get me wrong showing up is important. In fact it is the first thing every worker must do. If you don't constantly show up you get fired. If you call out a lot on Mondays and Fridays with Brown Bottle Flu, you also get fired. But just showing up is not enough (see Just showing up shouldn't earn you a trophy or a promotion. Showing up allows you to stay. In other words keeps you from getting fired. But what you do after you show up --- that's what wins you trophies (Promotions, Raises, and sometimes awards).

If I have to go through a stack of resumes I first look for things that would disqualify someone for the job. It's an easy way to whittle down a big stack of resumes. In my experience job hoping is one of those things. Because I don't like having to hire people over and over again for the same position. If I do have to hire someone over and over again for the same position I am not doing a good job at screening who I hire. And I am wasting my valuable time and the valuable time of my HR manager doing the same thing over and over. So I look for someone who has been at the current job for a while, or at least someone who I can see was at a recent job for a while. Maybe they jumped to a new company and found out it wasn't quite what they thought it would be, that's OK and I can figure that out with a simple question as to why do you want to leave your current job.

On a side note, while I was writing this article my Daughter called to tell me that she just landed the job as an assistant store manager. And that they paid her above what they normally do for that position because they really wanted her. They only had her resume and a couple of interviews to make that determination. My guess is their hiring manager is old school like me. They see value in someone who is willing to stick around and grow with a company. We used to call that loyalty.

I am not saying you should never leave a company for a better opportunity. I have done it. I worked 16 1/2 years for NECS, then left (on good terms) to work for Ricoh Business Systems. After 2 + years there and a merger I returned to NECS to my current position. In October I will have been with NECS for 25 years. That is almost unheard of today, but at NECS it is pretty commonplace. Why is that? Loyalty, not just from the employees to the employer, but vice versa too. I have seen NECS time and time again help people who work here in time of need. When hurricane Sandy hit my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, I sent out an email asking my coworkers for help. They stepped up big time, and then the President of NECS (Mr. Charlie Tiernan) matched what my coworkers and I had raised. But I told Charlie that my old neighborhood doesn't need money they need stuff that they can't buy locally, like generators, and heaters, and heat pumps .). He told me to take the money we had raised and fill the company truck with all the stuff they needed and drive it to my old neighborhood to deliver it. That's loyalty! Maybe that's why NECS has so many people who have worked here for 15, 20, and 30+ years.

If you are just starting out in your first job, or if you have been job hoping and now are having trouble getting your next good job, take my advice and stay put for a while. First show the company that you are currently working for that you are worth investing in. Have patience and perseverance. Don't ask for more money ask for more responsibility and the money will follow. If you want loyalty, be loyal. That goes for both the employees and the employers. It has certainly worked here at NECS.

That's my $0.02
Vince McHugh
VP \ Network Solutions

Updated 08-18-2015 at 10:02 AM by VinceMcHugh



  1. CopierCollin's Avatar
    It's great to have loyalty on both sides of the table. In your company and with your customers. The company I work for retains 95% of our customers upon contract renewal, and most of our employees have been here 10+ years.

    Collin @ Skelton