Loyalty is respect.
Back in the days where mobility and transition are remote, loyalty is seen as one most important aspect of an employee's characteristic. Fast forward to 20th century, do we still see the same loyalty in an employee? How much loyalty do employees owe or have to their employers?
From an employer's point of view, they want staff who they can nurture and stay with the company through thick and thin. This means that they will spend resources after resources and efforts after efforts to train the employee so that he/she can one day become the leader of the organization and contribute to the ultimate long term goal of the company. Training sessions, team buildings and seminars are one of the few schedules employers send their employee to because they want to nurture them long term. Based on one source, if an employer hires a staff and he/she resigns after 2 years, the employer would have to start again from scratch, costing almost 150% of the resources which they could invest in somewhere.
However, most of us are after all an employee, at least that's what I am right now. Departing employees often feel a deep sense of loyalty to the company and I've seen it enough to know that the feeling is common and genuine. This can be a troubling dilemma for you as one hand you want to pledge your loyalty to your employer but yet on the other hand you want to pursue your dreams elsewhere.
Now, let me tell you about the ultimate truth regarding relationship between an employee and employer:
"Beyond a hard day’s work in exchange for a paycheck, an employee owes NOTHING to a company"
Whether you like it or not, the truth is you are only important to the company as long as you contribute something to the company. A company's responsibility is to drive up profit margins and increase shareholders value so irregardless of the tenure you have served in the company, once the company sees you as useless, the agreement will not be mutual and they will terminate your service.
Robert Green once said: "Your loyalty is not to a career or to a company but to your life's task - to giving it full expression".
You can love your colleagues, bosses or even your work, but you should never have any affection to your company. If you end up one day on the other side of the fence as an employer, always remember that your employees don't owe you anything more than a hard days work.