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Loyal to Yourself

I am a person who embraces change. Whether it is expected or not, I pride myself on being able to adapt to new factors and situations in any facet of my life. I believe this is most true when it comes to my work. Truthfully, I can grow bored with a topic or project after a year or two and change is essential to rejuvenating my attitude and motivation, directly leading to an increase in productivity and innovation. That is why I believe I will frequently change jobs throughout my career. I am aware that certain positions such as consulting allow for a constant change in projects, yet I believe I will be craving a complete change in scenery every few years in order to continue challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone and to not grow complacent with my work. According to Penelope Trunk, serial entrepreneur and author, the learning curve at a new job “pretty much flattens after three years”. This frequent change is therefore key to my personal growth and development as a professional. The reason I believe switching jobs acceptable is because I must act with my own best interest in mind or no one else will. The company I work for never truly has my best interest in their mind. Their goal is to get the most out of their employees until they decide it is time to replace them. This is reminiscent of a recent trade made in the NBA between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. Isaiah Thomas played in a playoff game for the Celtics one day after his sister passed away, giving that franchise his heart and soul. They chose to reward his loyalty and sacrifice by trading him away in the following offseason. Thomas could not have given anything more to the company that is the Boston Celtics, yet they did not reciprocate his loyalty and instead justified their trade by claiming, “it’s all business”. If this is the case, then there should be no loyalty in business for either side and all parties involved should always act in their best interest. Clearly companies are already doing so by binding employees through non-competes and trade secrets that are becoming more and more unjust. Non-competes have been described as “slavery in the modern-day form” and continue to dupe employees out of their own rights as professionals. Once a person leaves a company, that company should not be allowed to dictate their future career path unless it is to protect trade secrets. However, the definition of trade secrets has grown to encompass not only concrete knowledge such as the formula for Coca-Cola, but also less well-defined knowledge like customer relations and basic skills employees need to do their jobs. When employers push the boundaries on their power to hinder their employees, they are acting selfishly, unfairly, and unethically. Non-competes and trade secrets have become tools of extortion and we as employees must be very wary of what we are agreeing to when signing on the dotted line. Our years of hard work and earned skills are our personal assets and we are free to use and develop them as we please – we can’t let companies turn these assets into a liability.

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