Loyalty is Blind

The Mrs. and I are truly enjoying our latest binge-watching obsession, Game of Thrones. Amidst some of the more ridiculous developments polluting the main story lines of “rightful” assumption of the throne, is the lecherous (and humorous) switching of alliances that occur on an hour-by-hour basis. You know, I’m beginning to doubt the historical accuracy of this show, but I digress….

The knights, the stewards, the banner-men, the King’s “Hand,” his council ~ all of them bound by loyalty and honor to serve their true king.

Until someone gets whacked, and they all move one seat to the left.

“Loyalty,” in this sense, is worthless.

Don’t get me wrong – I value loyalty. It’s true, just ask my dog.


“he’s right, I’m a good boy.”

But let me put it in another perspective – my wife, my kids, my brother, my friends – are they “loyal?” They are not “loyal” to me; I may have earned it, but I’m also expected (as are they) to continually validate my trustworthiness, respectability, and likability. To me, “loyalty” indicates a much blinder allegiance to person or thing, not always to the benefit of either party.

“Loyalty” has become a catch-all for many things. We confuse “loyalty” with tenure. How many people do you know who are quietly and proudly suffering away the years in a bad relationship in part because of some misguided interpretation of being “loyal?” How many times have you seen individuals either “grand-fathered” or “legacied” into a position within the company because of “loyalty?” During performance reviews, haven’t we all seen “loyalty” (i.e., tenure) confused with actual accomplishments? That loyalty sucks.

Love ain’t blind, loyalty is blind. Love is a commitment made with eyes wide open, loyalty is a contract made with a feeling called guilt.

So, if you want loyalty….buy your OWN dog. You can’t have mine ~ just look at that face!

HR Hardball™ Straight talk, no-nonsense approach to workplace issues. “Boudreaux” is a big, furry baby. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for more samplings of the Hardball message.


Talent Acquisition Executive, team-builder, and full-time dreamweaver. Creative Director, Content Designer, Writer, Speaker, Entrepreneur, terrible golfer, lover of The Art of War & Texas Hold 'Em.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
    03/28/2013, 9:33 pm

    We all love our/YOUR BOODY BABY! I should have a face like that!

  • 04/02/2013, 11:23 am

    It is a really cute doggy face. My dog sits like a human and kind of creeps me out a little.

    The thing about loyalty is that corporations are still made up of humans. For better or for worse, we indulge in nepotism, play favorites, bust on the black sheep, love and hate the “first impressions” scenario, and in general, desire to treat each other with fairness and respect, at least when it can get us somewhere. We get to know each other on a relationship level.

    What if you had a really crappy week or month even: there are days and days when you are making your co-workers (read: boss) bananas. Wouldn’t you call it loyalty if you didn’t get canned the first day you were a jerk?

    • hrhardball
      04/02/2013, 11:44 am

      So much here, so little time 🙂
      “when it can get us somewhere” ~ isn’t that the antithesis of loyalty? Now remember, you’re talking to a guy who was in the HR trenches for almost two decades (yet still looks remarkably young, ‘ahem‘), but retention can be any number of things besides loyalty. Fact is, when the benefit outweighs the pain, you probably keep your job.

  • 04/02/2013, 11:51 am

    My point about the “get us somewhere” was that employed humans are still human, and that loyalty seems like a natural condition to wanting to do right by someone who may or not be struggling.
    Loyalty (maybe a bit like faith) could be seen as benefit of the doubt. Does it have a deadline?
    AND I am usually on board with cutting people who aren’t giving 110%, but my version of it probably differs from others’.
    No comment on your weird fountain of youth.

    • hrhardball
      04/02/2013, 12:06 pm

      I like your thinking, and sincerely wish I had witnessed more of it in my experience.