Many years ago, I pulled aside a friend and told her that if I had to describe her in one word, it would be loyal. Her sincere loyalty to the people in her life was particularly impressive given our environment, our age and the tendency of our peers to change faces on a dime. She graciously accepted my words as the compliment they were intended to be.

However, as time and life have gone on, and as I’ve grown older and “wiser,” I’ve learned that loyalty can be as much a liability as it is an asset. On occasion, I have been loyal to a fault. My intentions were good, but the results turned out poorly for everyone involved.

Most of us ladies have, at some point, stayed loyal to a partner who most certainly did not deserve our allegiance. Whether we were cheated upon, our confidence was attacked or we simply didn’t receive the level of respect we deserved, we stuck it out. Devotion to a person is tricky –  the history of shared emotional experiences, and the awareness of our own affect on the other person(s) in the relationship, affects our judgment and colors our perspective.

Loyalty to a job, or employer, tends to be more of an ethical union than emotional, although emotions certainly can be involved. Case in point (and the event that spurred this post) is my own current employment. Just under the past seven years of my life have been spent with the same associates. file4251251141900Work teams have shifted, a large group of us moved (en masse) from one company to another, but the core group has been the same. During my time I have been fairly compensated and received moderately generous benefits. I have made friendships that survive outside of the office. But I haven’t been happy for a long time. Burned out, tired of the politics, exhausted by the cattiness of certain co-workers (every office has at least one), and often bored by tasks that rarely vary, my disenchantment at work began taking over my personal life. My fidelity was less to the company than my direct boss, but that bond was tearing me apart. After much hemming and hawing (for approximately a year), I finally made the long-overdue decision. Yesterday afternoon I gave my notice.

That’s right, World. In a little under two weeks, I will be gainlessly unemployed! This is both a massive relief and more than just a little terrifying.

So I broke a loyalty. But in the end, the loyalty that counts the most is to one’s self. I’m not talking about constantly putting yourself above everyone and everything else, I’m talking about making sure that you don’t get lost in the shuffle. I lost myself, for quite some time, and am now going to have to put in some hard work to find myself again. It’s exciting and daunting, but my super-amazing fiancé is supporting me in every way imaginable.

I don’t know what comes next, but I’m motivated to find something I will enjoy. If you could quit your current job, and do anything you wanted, what would YOU do?

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