You are replaceable.

I mean this in the very best way possible.

When you realize just how replaceable you really are, it will be liberating.  It will free your mind to think of ways to create epic coolness that makes you happy.  The kind of stuff you can’t create in a relationship (work or otherwise) that should have ended a long, long, time ago.

Curious? Good.

Let’s imagine that you work as a receptionist for a company that stocks furniture in offices.  You arrive every morning at nine, make sure there is plenty of milk in the kitchen, then proceed to waste the rest of your day trying to make it look like you are “busy”.

You hate this job.

Your talents have nothing to do with ordering milk, but you have been in this position for months (or years!)  because you are telling yourself one of the following things:

  • “Oh, I need to stay at least a year to get experience.”
  • ” I’m so grateful my boss gave me a chance.”
  • “What will my parents think if I quit?”
  • “Shouldn’t I be grateful that I have a job?”

Let’s be real. You tell yourself all of these things to keep from facing the ugly truth: you care about what others think of you.  You don’t want them to think you as a fuck-up.

Twenty or 30 years ago, people were getting married a lot younger, popping out kiddies before they were legal to drink, and staying in jobs until they received commemorative plaques (my Grandad has one- it’s cute).

Back then people stuck with things, they sucked it up, they didn’t have as many options as we have today.  Now, if we don’t like something, we can change it. We can tune out needless noise, we can create our own thing. But there are two things stopping you from doing that: fear and a desperate need for approval.

We seek approval of the gold-star variety daily, even if it makes us sad and miserable.  We ache for some type of validation.

Well, the journey to finding out what makes you happy ain’t gonna be paved with gold, babe.

If you are plugging away, even though you know the time for you to leave was three yesterday’s ago, you are hurting yourself.  If you are sticking around out of a sense of obligation that is built on tired, old society rules, you are really hurting yourself.

I spent months hurting myself because I was too afraid to admit out loud that I was miserable. On the outside it looked like I had it going on. But I was dying a little each day, because I wasn’t living up to my potential.

The company can find another (insert your job title here).  Hell, they can probably find someone who is more efficient than you. There may be someone out there who gets a real kick out of making sure plenty of milk is in the fridge for the coffee-freak execs.

You are replaceable, and that is totally okay because if you are feeling like you want to break-out (be it work-related or a boyfriend gone bad), then it means that your unique talents can best be used somewhere else.

I know you are talented in all kinds of crazy wonderful ways, but those things will waste away if you aren’t challenging yourself to find (or create) a position that really speaks to who you are as a person, and the ways you want to share your gifts with the world.

Allow yourself to be replaced in situations that are not deserving of you. Anything less cheapens your truth.

Think about it.

 

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18 comments

  1. N. Sampson 5 December, 2011 at 21:09 Reply

    Very insightful post. I think the concept of “replaceability” can be extended outside of our work-lives. In the sense that there may very well be someone (or a hundred) someones vying for the opportunity to fill the creativity or innovation vaccuum created by your idleness, or excuses, or procrastination, or doubt, etc. etc. etc. Great Job Amber.

  2. alice 10 November, 2011 at 21:25 Reply

    Amber, OMG, this is amazing. This summarizes everything that I have been to verbalize to all my friends for the past 2 years. Thank you !!!

  3. Lucy 14 July, 2011 at 12:06 Reply

    AMBER!!!!
    Girl, I need to send you a DM on Twitter, lol.

    I’m a lot behind on your blog so I’m sure you’ll answer some questions that I have but I’m going through this RIGHT NOW.

    I’m so sick of corporate america, yet here I am once again. I took this job because I was tired of being unemployed. A year and a half later, I am completely miserable. I spend all day on social media sites. I actually spent the entire morning changing the layout on my personal blog. This can’t be life.
    I’m doing my best to get out of here. I can feel in my bones that a better day is coming.

    • Amber J. 18 July, 2011 at 20:31 Reply

      It doesn’t have to be life.
      And you know what is so crazy? Trying to make it look like you are busy at work is way more mentally exasperating! What would you like to be doing? And feel free to reach out to me at any time!

  4. B 12 July, 2011 at 11:14 Reply

    The advice that you’re replaceable is good advice- it really does put things in perspective. We do often inflate the significance of jobs we hate, and this holds us back.
    However, I think this article could have done a better job of tackling the REAL challenge, which is how to stay in a job you hate while finding another job. For the 1% of humans who can afford to quit their jobs, “quit your job” is good advice. The other 99% of humans stay in their jobs and pretend that their jobs are important not to get the gold star but so that they can afford food, shelter, and (in the USA) healthcare. The more interesting topic is how to manage an escape plan from your current job without getting depressed while you’re at work- and without losing the only safety net you have.

    • Amber J. 12 July, 2011 at 15:04 Reply

      Thank you for the compliment and for adding your insight-I welcome it. I think explaining how to stay in one job while looking for another would be another post separate from this one. In fact, it would be one that I would welcome as a guest post because that was not the experience I had. I would also love to hear from people who have families. There are a lot of different perspectives that can go into it. Some people want to leave their job to do their own thing, some people want to find another job that really speaks to their gifts. Both grinds are tough but not impossible.

      What has your experience been?

  5. Caressa Rolle 9 July, 2011 at 17:16 Reply

    This is the story of my life right now. I just started an interactive blog site, that gives me so much joy and happiness. For the first time in my life, I know that I know that I know that I am passionate about this. When I am at work I find myself thinking how even going to work that day was such a waste of time. I have been going back and forth with myself about giving my 2 week notice, and all the reasons you listed have ALL kept me from making this decision. Thank so much for giving me the confirmation I need to pursue what I am really passionate about.

    • Amber J. 12 July, 2011 at 15:20 Reply

      I think this is the story of a lot of our lives right now. I made a big career move recently, but I still worry every day if I am doing the right thing. On the days when I realize I am more worried about doing the right thing for the comfort of everyone around me, versus myself, that’s when I know I need to take a step back and reevaluate. What are you really passionate about?

  6. Celia, TNGG 8 July, 2011 at 12:34 Reply

    Everyone criticizes Millennials for leaving jobs too early, but in this case, it’s worth it. Life is too short to not do something you enjoy! Spending 40+ years in a profession you hate should NOT be an option, especially when there are so many ways to do innovative things with your passions.

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