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Showing Loyalty: When to Leave Your Job & When to Stick It Out

Wise, effective employers understand the value of employee loyalty; a loyal employee grows with the company instead of leaving as soon as a better opportunity comes along, so investing in his or her training tends to bring high returns and support company growth. But wise employers also know that employee loyalty is the responsibility of the manager, not the employee. If you give them a reason to stick around, they will…If you don't, they won't.

On the other side of the coin, smart employees know when it's time to ride out the rough times with an employer, and when it's time to jump ship and put their own lives and their own careers first. After all, if you show that you're willing to put up with some difficult days (or years), your employers may think twice before prioritizing their profits ahead of your well-being. If you're standing on the employee side of the table, here are a few considerations that can help you weigh the value of leaving versus staying put.

1. Show loyalty to your employer after they prove their loyalty to you.

Every relationship comes with power dynamic, and as employee, it's unlikely that you're standing on the powerful end of this one. Your employer (no matter how small the company) has more money, more rights regarding this transaction, more options, and more overall financial stability than you do. So don't show your cards first. Until your employer has helped you through a rough time, taken a risk to support your learning curve, invested in you, or kept you on board during a dry spell in revenue and new orders, keep your eyes on your own success and put your own plans first.

2. "Job hopping" won't damage your credibility.

Employers would like you to believe that "job hopping" raises red flags in the marketplace. This is not usually the case. Unless you've left more than five jobs in a row within about six months each, you have nothing to worry about. And even if you've done this, responsible, intelligent employers won't worry about it very much. The average tenure for most entry and mid-level corporate jobs is currently about 1.5 years.

3. Your career should follow an upward trajectory.

A supportive, loyal employer doesn't just "allow" you to occupy the same chair and collect the same paycheck year after year. Loyal employers are those who encourage you to grow, who expose you to new learning opportunities, and who grant you promotions and increased responsibilities when you're ready to request them. A loyal employer protects your interests when profits are low and the chips are down, but loyalty also means providing you with a ladder to climb and helping you up each rung. If this isn't happening, set your sights beyond this company.

Remember That Your Paycheck Isn't a Gift

When you find yourself daydreaming about a future beyond this company, or fielding offers from other organizations, think twice before you decide to stay put. Is your employer paying you what you're worth? Are you getting the coaching and encouragement you need? Are your performance reviews fair and your responsibilities clear? If staying where you are will pay off in tangible and practical ways, that's fine. But if not, don't let a golden opportunity pass you by. Visit MyPerfectResume and gather the resume and application tools you need to keep your career in motion.

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