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Growth

Replacement

Last week, I wrote about choosing to leave my job in search of a soul-nourishing sabbatical. This week, I will tell you something that I find to be an odd by-product steaming from that decision.

As all good stories begin, mine starts grounded firmly in Success. SUCCESS magazine to be precise. 

When I came aboard the SUCCESS team, I started as a temp and was hungry. Even after I was hired on, I was constantly overreaching outside my given arena. I was into product design, website creation, whatever I could do to prove myself as indispensable.

But I ended up being very generalized. Too spread out.

Before I left, I had often wondered what other job would ever take me. I was into print and web, I knew servers and had built a Magento site, and had experience in the backend entering products. 

I was a jack of all trades, all over the place, not specializing in any one thing. I assumed that no company would need someone like me. And really, I was used to so much variety, I didn’t know if I would have wanted to be boxed into doing one particular thing day-to-day anyway.

Along came Home Zone, who asked specifically for all my talents in print layout and web design and unknowingly needed someone who knew their way around setting up and managing a Magento site from scratch and how to run a server. It was the perfect job for me and I was the perfect person for what they needed at the time.

When I started, the caliber of our print ads went up and the website became functional and started raking in the dough. Eventually, we decided to hire a dedicated graphic designer, and with her help, our print and signage quality upgraded yet again.

The guy that made our commercials when I started ended up leaving us and I hired a new videographer who further improved the look of our video department. When he left, we hired an amazingly talented video guy and our commercials leveled way up again.

After deciding to leave, and talking it over with the owner, I mentioned how the different departments had improved greatly over the years and with every new hire. What I intended, would be that our web department would be leveled up in the same way. 

My hope was that we would hire someone better than me.

Which is weird if you think about it. The humility that it takes to say, “I think someone can do my job better than me, and I’m going to find them.”

You are probably thinking the person that is able to put aside their pride should probably be ready for sainthood or something. 

To that, I say, “…thank you.”

Jokes aside, I have loved my job, the people I work with mean a lot to me, especially my boss, and the website is something I have put a lot of work into for the last seven years. So I owe it to them to have it go into good hands. My goal is to find someone able to grow the department without me and for me to know what I built will only get better.

There have been many programs I have created for different departments that might be hard for someone to maintain or expand on. Also, I would still take on projects outside of my realm and created processes that I feel the company has been made the better for.

After interviewing many people, I felt like I wasn’t finding what I was looking for. But now I think I might have found the perfect replacement for my role. 

My hopes are that my replacement can grab the baton and take the company to places I didn’t, or maybe even that I couldn’t.

Many times when I see someone leave a company, they put in a two weeks notice and are checked out already. Or they are let go, but many times, their hearts weren’t in it anyway. Once I saw a guy who signed a Non-Compete with his previous company and as soon as that was up, bolted from where we worked.

But I feel like I am doing the opposite. Which isn’t me tooting my own horn, as much as commenting on how odd what I am doing is. Leaving a job I love and am paid well for, with a ton of autonomy, for a future of uncertainty. On top of that, finding a replacement who will outshine me, making it impossible for me to come back once I realize what a mistake I made.

To be fully transparent, there is also some measure of pride I have. Since I have made the decision to jet, many people have commented about how much I do and how irreplaceable I am. 

However, no one is irreplaceable in both my opinion and experience. Some people are just easier to keep around because they know the lay of the land. And you know what you can expect from them. Familiarity.

So I do my best to tamp that pride down and thank them for their well-meaning compliment.

Whatever the future holds for me, I think people should always do their best and leave things better than they found them. And I hope that is what my replacement will be.

By Sam Watson

I'm pretty good at Microsoft Excel but a freak in Google Sheets.

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