During my working career, two of the companies that I worked for seemed to have expectations of their employees that still don't make sense to me. The culture of these companies was that they equated loyalty and dedication to how many hours you spent "on the job" at the company.
Somehow, if every day you came in to work a half-hour early and stayed an hour after quitting time and then came in on Saturdays more often than not, you were considered to be one of the loyal employees. On the other hand, if you came to work every day promptly at 9, did your job and left at 5 and rarely, if ever, came in on a Saturday, you were somehow considered less loyal. If you were one of the 9-to-5 individuals, it didn't matter that you did excellent work, completed it on schedule and on or under budget — if you didn't put in the extra time that some of your co-workers did, you just were not a "loyal" employee.
At both of those companies, those same "dedicated" employees were almost always the same ones who took excessive coffee or smoke breaks, long lunches, were often sitting in their offices yacking with the other "dedicated" employees, frequently did poor or incomplete work (which was often late) and in numerous other ways were "at work" but not doing any useful or productive work. But they were there at their desks at 5:45 p.m., seemingly hard at work, when the boss walked by. And it seemed like that's what counted.
The best I can figure out about this management way of thinking is that all employees were supposed to be at work between 9 and 5, but the ones who were there before or after those hours were the more loyal and dedicated. Management seemed oblivious to the fact that the so-called loyal ones were doing little useful work during the day.
Unfortunately for me, I have always been the kind of employee who took pride in the quality of my work and was always trying to do it faster or easier. Budgets and schedules were a challenge to me to meet or to better. I was always looking for faster, better, less expensive ways to do things.
I also had the habit of questioning long-standing procedures that — it seemed to me — everyone else was satisfied with. I would frequently find myself asking, "Why are we doing this?" or "why are we doing it this way?" only to hear, "That's the way we have always done it."
Questioning the "system" was the best way to improve old, obsolete and ineffective procedures, but it sure disturbed the "loyal" old-timers who were totally comfortable with the old way and strongly resisted any changes to "the way we have always done it."
My philosophy of working smarter not harder wasn't always welcomed by those employees who were "loyal" to the company and to "the way we've always done it." My philosophy of actually working the full eight hours I was at work (to me "at work" means at work) counted less to the management of some companies than to others. But I'd rather work for a company that can recognize true employee loyalty as opposed to "loyalty" shown by putting in long but worthless hours.