What is a Company Man?

Company Man Meaning

Definition: A person whose employer is more important to him than his personal life.

Origin of Company Man

This expression originated around the early-1900s. It developed during a time when many labor unions were striking in order to gain better working conditions.

The unions used this term to refer to a person who wouldn’t join the strike because he was too loyal to the company.

Examples of Company Man

define company manHere is an example in which one man is upset that his father won’t be able to visit him.

Mario: Hey, Axel.

Axel: Hey. What’s the matter? You seem upset.

Mario: I’m just a little sad. My dad was supposed to come visit me for my birthday. I was going to take him to my first ever concert. I’ve wanted to be in a band my whole life, and it’s finally happening. I just wish my father could be here to see it.

Axel: Why can’t he?

Mario: His boss scheduled an important meeting unexpectedly. My dad says he can’t miss it.

Axel: But surely it would be all right since he already had plans to visit you?

Mario: No. My dad’s a company man. His allegiance is to his job more than his family.

Axel: I’m sorry. I’ll come see your show.

meaning of company menAn employer uses the idiom during an interview with a potential new employee.

Employer: So, tell me about yourself. What would make you a good fit for this company?

Interviewee: Well, first of all, I’m very loyal. I’m a hard worker, and I make sure to always finish what I start. I pride myself on making my work very high quality.

Employer: It sounds like you’re a real company man. Would you describe yourself as such?

Interviewee: Absolutely! For me, work comes first. A healthy personal life is important, of course, but I make sure that all that is secondary.

More Examples

This excerpt is about estimating how much money people should save for retirement.

  • Casey said he never really wanted to start a brewery. He figured he’d be a company man at a big brewery, climbing the corporate ladder. –Denver Post

The second excerpt is about an athlete who is very loyal to his team.

  • Former players cite example after example in which Brady has served as Belichick’s company man, without resentment. Gary Myers documented in his book “Brady Vs Manning, The Untold Story of the Rivalry That Transformed the NFL,” how Belichick would intentionally resist praising Brady for individual records, finally relenting only when he surpassed 50,000 yards. –Washington Post

Summary

The phrase a company man describes a worker who has more loyalty towards his bosses and the upper management than to his coworkers, and puts work before his family and friends.