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Loyalty can feel like a lost art. It’s often hard to know where alliances lie and who really has your back. Sadly, this can be especially true in the workplace.

Over the years, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. Even when we know things are going badly, we want to hang in there for the good of the company. In theory, it’s good to be committed. It’s great. But, in practice, this doesn’t always make sense in today’s job market.

Company layoffs are no longer an uncommon way for an organization to save money. Even the best employees risk being cut after years of service. It’s a sad, but true fact. Pair that with people changing jobs every four years or so and the job market is entirely different than it was just twenty years ago.

I very often encounter hard working employees I’m concerned about. They’re the kind of people who put in more time than they’re required to. They take work home at night and on the weekends. The may even take business calls on their personal time.

This same hard working group also often chooses to stay at a job despite the signs that it’s time to go. Perhaps their colleagues were recently let go. Or, maybe the company is restructuring a little too often. The organization is losing money, and the executives are showing signs that they’re nervous. But, the hard workers are committed. They want to stick it out. And, besides, they have a seemingly stable job. “Why would anyone leave a good job?” they wonder.

The problem is – if there are signs that things are going south, there’s a good chance they really will eventually go that way. Sadly for the committed worker, this means that they may eventually lose their job. They could be the victim of a layoff.

It can take months to find a new job. And, sadly, future employers could easily assume that these dedicated workers were not part of a big layout. They might assume the employees were let go for cause, but isn’t disclosing that information.

The bottom line is this. Business is business. Companies know that. It’s why they don’t hesitate to cut employees when they need to save money. Businesses are loyal to the business first. And, in this same way, the hard working employees should take care of themselves. I’m not talking about jumping ship for no reason, but if you know things are wrong, don’t ignore it. Listen to yourself.

If you do, you could end up without a job. Being unemployed, or in a situation where you hate your work, takes away your options. It forces you to take a job quickly, that you may or may not really like. At times, it can even be the start of a vicious cycle of moving from bad job to bad job.

Remember, you are the CEO of your own career. In the same way the business must protect their future, you must protect yours.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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