Monday, March 28, 2011

Today's fortune: March 28, 2011

Today's fortune: Your loyalties are clear when it comes to your friends.

What I've learned over the course of the past three months is that fortune cookie messages often talk about the values we hold dear. Some recent examples I've written about include teamwork, trust, friendship and respect. Today, we examine another value: loyalty.

I'm a bit leery of this word, because it's used so often in a corporate setting. Employers expect loyalty from their workers, and employees often claim they are loyal to their bosses.

Maybe it's just me, but I think that's false loyalty. I'll be straightforward here and admit that I'm not loyal to Acme Corp.

Don't get me wrong: that doesn't mean I'm disloyal. I love my job. Acme is a great place to work, and I'm making a lot of friends there. Room for advancement looks like a serious possibility in the future. And for perhaps the first time in my life, I'm working for a employer with whom I can honestly envision a long-term career.

What's more, Acme gave me a job during a very difficult time in my life. I was unemployed and we were on the verge of broke. It could be said that Acme Corp saved Jamie and I from financial ruin.

But if another company offered me a similar job with better salary, and if I believed the move would be beneficial for me and my family, I would jump ship in a New York second.

It's human nature. Anybody who says otherwise is lying.

(By the way - that's a difficult thing to write, because people at work, people whom I work for, read this blog. Hopefully, they'll realize my thoughts bring to the table another important value: honesty.)

However:  I am dedicated to the extent that I haven't looked, or even thought about looking for another job since I've been working at Acme, and until Acme decides I'm not needed anymore, I won't look look for another job. I have no reason to. It's that simple. Since widget makers haven't been flooding me with offers, I think it's safe to say I'll be staying at Acme for the foreseeable future.

Hell, maybe that is loyalty. Let's look at the definition of the root word "loyal" to make sure:
"Faithful to one's sovereign, government, or state; faithful to one's oath, commitments, or obligations."
Well, I definitely think I can say I'm not disloyal. I never took an oath to Acme Corp, never once raised my right hand and swore that I would stay with the company forever. Nobody who works there did.
The final part of the definition of "loyal" brings us full circle to today's fortune: "Faithful to any leader, party, or cause, or to any person or thing conceived as deserving fidelity: i.e., a loyal friend."
This fortune specifically states "Your loyalties are clear when it comes to your friends."
To see if that was true, I asked my oldest friend, Garrett, two simple questions: "What does loyalty mean to you?" and "Do you believe I am a loyal friend?"
His combined answer is short, touching and better than anything I could come up with. Since it's the best writing to appear on this site for a while, Garrett's words will conclude today's post:
"To me, loyalty speaks to longevity. You've been with me through some tough times. Breakups, jobs lost, family drama, et cetera. And geography has no bearing. Even while each of us was living out of state for long periods of time, we stayed close.
"Loyalty is not about always taking my side, but about always being there to hear my side of things."


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