You must look for your replacement

Kay and Jay, from the movie Men In Black, have this dialog at the end of Jay’s first day on the job.

Kay: [looking skywards] They’re beautiful, aren’t they?
Jay: What?
Kay: The stars.
Jay: Kay, you’re frightening your partner…
Kay: I haven’t been looking for a partner. I’ve been looking for a replacement.

Kay has always been thinking on retiring. His last job was to train his replacement.

In your day-by-day at work, always think on how to train your replacement.

Yes. As counter-intuitive as it seems.

Train your substitute. Make sure that somebody, with the correct set of skills and the right disposition, is learning everything she needs to learn for doing your job. For taking your role. For getting your position.

In a global economy, with job offers able to reach thousands of candidates everywhere, everyone can be replaced, if needed. Your job is not safe anymore.

However, working on training your substitute, will let you understand your current position better, so you’ll become a better performer while teaching others.

Moreover, you will solve in advance the problem of not giving you a promotion because you’re too valuable for your company where you are now.

Finally, if the person you’ve trained reaches your position, your way of doing things, your legacy, will be safer than just letting your former team and product in the hands of a newcomer.

Everyday, look for your replacement.

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