When you quit a job, get laid off or get fired [if people use that word] others will tell you:
“we’ll miss you”.
You’ll also hear:
“it won’t be the same without you.”
Unless you’re a complete jerk.
Even then, people will say these things just to be nice [and to get you the hell out of there].
These things really are nice to hear, but everyone gets these kinds of goodbyes. These are the polite things to say.
I hope you also hear:
“you’ll be getting a wonderful severance package.”
It’s nice to get some cash, or a lot of cash, to help with the transition.
But the best thing you can hear is this:
“You can never be replaced”
I haven’t always heard it when I’ve changed jobs, although I’ve heard the other things.
Why? Because it shows that you have made a very unique contribution and others recognize it. It shows that you have provided value that no one else could. It shows that you have recognized your strengths and have brought your own unique set of skills to the job.
It’s easy to see people who have done that in sports, people who have been the “first” to do something. People like Jackie Robinson, Hideo Nomo and Jeremy Lin. There are people in business and show business who have done that too, like Steve Jobs, Whoopi Goldberg, the guy from the Sopranos.
But I have worked with a lot of people like that. The client who brought two hotel chains in Japan together. The client who launched a luxury brand. The former student who left a venture capital company after a few months to head a start-up. My own partner, Hitoshi Ohashi, is like that. He has a legion of fans who love his insights, his photos, his personality.
You need to have a dream for yourself and your organization. You need to be able to find the loose bricks in your company’s strategy and find out where you can add value. You need to make alliances with other people you work with.
You need to do something exceptional. You need to never offer any excuses. You need to go in the direction of your dream.
What will you get? You’ll have the satisfaction of having made a difference.
You’ll leave a footprint that will be part of your legacy.
These things will be even better than what you hear when you leave.
But when you hear “you can never be replaced”,
it will be like an annuity that will pay dividends for the rest of your life.