If you want to develop an understanding of loyalty, the first action to take is ask a child. Loyalty is what you show to your country or what you do when you join the army, navy or Marine Corps.
As adults, our feelings and definitions change and become more complex. Maybe because we have traditionally associated loyalty with our country, families, jobs and partners, we become slightly more careful about being loyal to those in other roles. Within my life as a writer, I believe that loyalty to me is as important as any other.
The subject arose during a conversation with a newly-acquired friend. She and I discussed our wishes for demonstrations of loyalty from those with whom we work on an ongoing basis. My story included a client who disappeared with no explanation after several years of a very consistent working relationship. When I described my confusion and sense of disappointment about the client’s lack of loyalty, her response was simple but quite satisfying, “He is just human.”
Do we have a gene for loyalty? Do we teach our children and our students what it means to initiate and maintain genuine bonds? From a very young age, our children seek social interaction and display hurt when their “best friends” associate with others.
Ultimately, the decision to be blasé or unhappy about clients who no longer request my writing services is entirely mine. Am I entitled to an explanation? Again, we probably have a variety of correct answers, depending on how we view our work, our clients and our dedication to excellence.
After our conversation, the answer became quite simple. When we care deeply about the quality of work that we do, we extend that care to the clients for whom we do it. Yes, I seek the same loyalty that I provide to my profession and will continue to hope that it is reciprocated. There’s no extra charge for integrity. Shalom.