Total honesty time – I sometimes stalk my former employer’s websites. I’m not sure when it started. It’s not to do any harm or leave bad reviews or anything like that. It’s just to see what they’re up to…
Of course I’m happy for my former co-workers when something good happens to them. I guess I should mention that I have always worked for small companies in the past so knowing everyone who worked there wasn’t hard to do. I suppose there’s even a part of me that is glad that the company is still doing well – without me.
The funny thing is that I used to tell my co-workers at just about any company I worked for that we were all replaceable. This was usually after someone announced that they were leaving and some if not all of us were devastated, thinking we’d never be able to function without them.
‘Ha,’ I would think. ‘I can do their job better than they ever could. We don’t need them.’
I’m sure the boss was thinking, ‘Crap, I have to replace another one. Oh, well, I’ll be able to find someone I can pay less and they’ll probably do more at first. Until everyone else rubs off on them.’
It was only within the past few years that seeing my former employers get along just fine without me really started to get to me. I know, I know if I just quit following their websites or my former co-workers on social media then I could get past it. And for the most part I do.
It’s only when I hear news about them or see a job opening that I go looking now. Maybe it’s because I’m coming up on an anniversary of sorts that the news hit me kind of wrong this time. I don’t know. All I know is that my words, my callousness came back to bite me in the ass.
Doesn’t make it any less true, though, even if it is about me. And I think there’s a tiny part of me that knows that these companies are better off without me. Not because I’m a horrible person or couldn’t do the job or they hate me, but because I was constantly stirring things up. I wanted change. I wanted improvement. Fast.
And sometimes that goes against a company’s culture. That goes against how a boss operates. Then they’re stuck, because I was such a good worker they wanted to keep me, but they would really like to tell me to shut up and relax sometimes.
Or I could be full of shit.
I can’t help but think of that book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson or anything Ryan Holiday has written. We all want to think we’re special – irreplaceable, but the truth is we’re not. We are highly replaceable – especially at work.
That doesn’t mean we should be paranoid about losing our jobs or anything, but it should give us a wake up call. There are a bunch of unemployed millennials living in mommy’s basement that would love to have our jobs at about half the pay…
And employers know this. So the next time ‘that’s not my job’ or ‘that’s not in my job description’ or ‘this company would fall apart without me’ crosses your mind, or worse, actually comes out of your mouth, remember –
Everyone is replaceable…