Don’t confuse loyalty with a false sense of duty


A friend of mine had been complaining about her job for years and years but never looked for a new job because she felt like she couldn’t let her colleagues down. Sounds familiar? You really don’t like your job but for some reason or other you feel obligated to stay? Then you probably have a false sense of duty. 


Yes, loyalty is a good thing. Companies look for loyal employees but there can also be a wrong kind of loyalty. Most of the reasons why women are staying in jobs they don’t like are based on a false sense of duty. That’s when your loyalty is just benefiting others but harming yourself. 


I can’t let them down...


For example when you stay in a job year after year because you feel like you can’t let your colleagues down. You’re such a nice team, you’re all in this together and you have the feeling that if you leave, it will all come crashing down and they will suffer. So you rather stay and suffer yourself. Really? Do you really want to be unhappy, just because others could be unhappy if you make a change? 


Or the company/ your boss gave you a chance when nobody else would, so you feel like you owe them. Sure, that’s a good reason to be loyal and as long as you like what you do, there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a bad choice however to be loyal to a company all your life when you don’t enjoy your role anymore. You need to realize that you have paid your dues at some point. It’s ok to move on if you’re no longer happy. At some point you owe it to yourself to take care of your happiness and your future. 


Or you have a lot of responsibility and the feeling that nobody else could do your job. So you think you can’t look for something else because the company or department would be completely helpless without you. Well, think again. Most people are not irreplaceable. Most companies don’t go bankrupt if an employee leaves. It’s usually you who need this feeling of being needed. Even if you’re not happy in the job anymore, you’ll stay because you like this feeling of being needed so badly that you would rather not give that up. Is that really the right thing to do? 


You don’t owe anything to anyone but yourself


Whatever your reason for staying might be, the important thing to realize is that you’re not doing yourself a favor if you just focus on not letting other people down. If you just focus on not letting others down, the one whom you let down instead is yourself. But remember: if you don’t take care of yourself, nobody will. Remember what they tell you at the beginning of each flight: in case of an emergency, put on your oxygen mask before helping others. 


You owe it to yourself to take good care of yourself. So if you are really unhappy in your job, you start feeling sick on Sunday afternoon because you dread Monday morning, forget everyone else. You need to take care of yourself and your happiness. Don’t work yourself into a burnout. Be brave and make a change. 


Yes, it is scary to make a change. For most people, it seems less scary to stay with the old and known pain. Change might mean risking a new, potentially bigger pain. Most people only ever take action when the pain gets so big that it is completely insufferable. Until they break down. 


Do me a favor and don’t wait to so long. If you’re unhappy, do something about it. Make a change. You will see that in most of the cases, the risk of getting yourself in a worse situation than the one you’re already in is minimal. On the other hand, the chance of finding a more interesting job, a nicer team, a better work environment is really big. 


And if you don’t like, you can always change again. That’s not a failure. It’s just another step towards your career satisfaction. So take action now and get started with your application. Make sure to use my free checklist to prepare your job application.