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Akudo Abengowe-Adebayo: Does Loyalty To Your Employer Really Pay?



I overheard a heated argument between two guys somewhere. Apparently Mr A had a fallout with their supposed mentor and Mr B tried to mediate for him and in the process said to their mentor that ‘she found them in the profession’. Mr A was very angry at Mr B’s statement and expressed it:

Mr A
Why did you say she ‘found us’ what do you even mean by that statement.

Mr B
And what is wrong with the statement, you know she has been in this industry far longer than us.

Mr A
But that doesn’t mean she found us na. I already knew what my talent was, and I went to school, got trained, came into the industry and met her. I was already a journalist when I met her so please she didn’t ‘find me’

Mr B
Ok, I understand you, maybe I shouldn’t have used that word.

Mr A
No, you shouldn’t have, I find that terminology offensive.

That argument got me thinking. What really does loyalty mean? How does it come to play in the relationship between a mentor and a protege? Or better still, what is the perception of loyalty between employers and employee?

Sometimes, loyalty can be mistaken for stupidity or cowardice. I have seen employers who make their staff do ridiculous things like: carry their bags, open the car doors for them, go to the market or school runs for them.  I wonder if these extra chores were part of the staff employment conditions; or because they have seen the humility or desperation of the staff to please his employer,  they take undue advantage of it.

I think that we also put ourselves in difficult situations while trying to please our bosses, mentors, leaders etc. We do things that are unbecoming to prove our loyalty or faithfulness as the case maybe, and our actions get misunderstood by the receiver who turns the giver to a modern day slave. Loyalty is good, but it also needs to be understood properly by both giver and receiver. Also we should learn to draw a line between trying to prove our loyalty and enslavement.

Some people have also had their fingers burnt seriously by people who were seen as ‘loyal’ by them. The countless stories of theft, heartbreak, kidnapping, rape, abuse, blackmail e.t.c are often perpetrated by ‘loyalists’ whom the victims have come to trust over time. So, it applies both ways; but I want to concentrate on the dialogue that I overheard.

Take the scenario for instance, I also found the word ‘she found us’ offensive. Nobody finds anybody a profession or career. I mean, how could she ‘find’ you when you were not lost in the first place?

That someone encouraged you, gave you a nudge in the right direction or even introduced you to someone or a job doesn’t mean they found you. You already knew where you were going,  and only needed to get there quicker or faster, as the case maybe.

I once had a boss who was all about loyalty. He would go on and on about how his staff was loyal to him, but all I could see was a staff who lived in terror of their boss. They jump when he blinks.  Of course, I didn’t last in that establishment, because I was not seen as ‘loyal’.

There was a young man who worked there. He was a younger brother to a lady who was dating a friend of my ex-boss, so the boss even treated him like family. One day, the boss and his friend had a fallout and of course the young man’s family advised him to stop working for the boss, since his sister and her boyfriend were now in enmity with him. So, the young man told the boss of his dilemma out of respect, but the boss asked him to choose between obeying his family and his job as a means of proving his loyalty.

Of course the young man chose to leave, but he gave enough lieu of notice. When the boss shared the incident with me, he was very disappointed by the young man’s decision. I told him point blank that family was family, and there was no way the young man would chose his job over his family. I felt it was even selfish of the boss to put the young man in such difficult position. It is because the loyalty has been misconstrued, he probably felt the boy loved him more than his family.

Have you been taken for granted because you are seen as loyal? Or have you been betrayed by people who are loyal to you?

Akudo Abengowe-Adebayo is a multiple award winner, with over 8 years in the media industry. She also hosts (Love Moments With Akudo) and is CEO of SATT Media, a content and media marketing company. She blogs at Akudosworld. She is married with two adorable kids and loves Jesus with all her being. She is a TV addict, loves dancing and traveling, and a lil gossip now and then. Follow her on [email protected] or [email protected]


  1. Toni

    April 30, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    This article spoke to me on different levels. I find this common with startup employers especially. They feel like they’re doing you a” favor.” Hence, you must do anything to prove your loyalty to them.

  2. miss rays

    April 30, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    I’ve been working for an amazing boss, mentor and friend for over 6 months and its been a totally rewarding experience. while I admit my boss/mentor is not perfect, he gets on my nerves often, yet il have to admit I’ve grown and accomplished much more that i ever thought was possible for me. I discovered skills I never knew were hidden in me. he pushes me- sometimes too hard- but he brings out the best in me. so I would say mentorship is important but you need to find the right mentor, one who is as committed to your success as you are.

  3. survivor

    April 30, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    I don’t think so…started working with ma former bos with all loyalty, I almost loss the job but when I careless about being loyal to them..I was their favorite..chai!
    I love honesty but these people no like thruth

    • Promise

      April 30, 2017 at 11:18 pm

      That was painful to read…

  4. miss rays

    May 1, 2017 at 7:24 am

    bella naija never posts my comments. it seems one needs connection to get his/her comments approved.

  5. erin

    May 1, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I was extremely loyal (and I mean extremely) to my former boss. I even thought we were friends because I had known him for a couple of years before he offered me a job. Clients always made comments as to how loyal I was. A lot happened to me last year, so I decided to move on and grow. It was difficult telling my ex boss but I had to. I sent him a mail telling him of my resignation and thought he would call me and ask what the issue was. Whossai! When he found out I left to work for a client of his, he started the rumours of me sleeping with the client. I was weak! I never expected his level of pettiness. I almost swore never to be loyal again. Still finding it difficult to be loyal even in my budding relationship

    • Ify

      May 1, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      For someone you had known for so long, an email wasn’t exactly the right medium to inform him of your resignation.

      Tact and wisdom are required even in basic decisions not to mention a key one like this. This should have been a face to face conversation, not a mail (and then expecting him to call you afterwards)

    • Puzzles

      May 1, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      So because she sent her notice via email, she deserves the wicked rumour her boss started spreading about her? Recieve sense!!!

    • Ify

      May 1, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Before you jump down my throat, I did not in any way justify the rumors spread by her ex-boss.
      I was simply focusing on the medium with which she informed him, despite having known each other for so long. That could apply to anyone else in a similar circumstance and not just her.

  6. Emmanuel

    May 1, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    This is so true, some bosses don’t recognize that you have other commitments to family and your life in general. Thank you Akudo for this.

  7. blackbeatle

    May 1, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    loyalty pays o..a handy man that has worked with my family for 15 years ..has a house in the village built and for him and his wedding expenses taking care off and home in lagos furnished by us.

    • Canary

      May 1, 2017 at 9:51 pm

      Well, that doesn’t happen often does it

  8. Canary

    May 1, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Be loyal to your employer, however, be sensible whilst being loyal.

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