Are you obsolete? Why not?

Maybe being a dinosaur isn't so bad?Your ultimate goal–at any job–should be achieving your own obsolescence. When you achieve that, you’ve really succeeded.

You should be extinct.

Not only that, but you should plan to be extinct. You should strive to be extinct.

You should be gone. Remember that.

That, and that alone, should be your only goal as an employee.

“What cockamamie bull is he shoveling now?” I hear you asking. Bear with me.

I say everyone should be working to make themselves obsolete because, in all honesty, it’s what’s best for you. And it’s what ‘s best for the business.

What are some ways you could be working to make yourself obsolete?

  • If you’re a manager, you should be working to help your employees take your job. Or, better yet, leapfrog you and eliminate your job.
  • If you’re part of a heavy handed process, you should be working to refine that process, restructure that process. Heck, even completely automate that process.
  • If you’re building something that shouldn’t be built, you should be working to convince the business to stop building it.
  • If you’re the lynchpin in the creative process, you should be capturing and codifying that creative process in ways that would allow it run more efficiently without you.
  • If you’re required to be at the ready to solve a recurring problem, you should be figuring out how to solve that recurring problem, automatically. Or, better yet, preventing that problem from happening in the first place.

I know, I know. “That’s easy to say for you, sitting up there in your ivory tower. I’ve got mouths to feed.”

I’m not advocating your losing your job. I’m simply advocating your working to eliminate the current you.

Because if you do, one of two things will happen:

  1. You’ll fail. But as you fail, you will gain invaluable experience that will make you better…. OR
  2. You’ll succeed. And as you succeed, you will show how brilliant you really are. When your brilliance is more obvious to those around you (because I know that it is already obvious to you), you’ll get a new job. A better job. A job you like a whole heck of lot more than this job. Either at your current company or at another company.

Either way, you’ll be moving yourself forward. What have you got to lose?

About Rick Turoczy

More than mildly obsessed with the Portland startup community. Founder and editor at Silicon Florist. Cofounder and general manager at PIE. Follow me on Twitter: @turoczy
This entry was posted in Career, Change, Success. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Are you obsolete? Why not?

  1. Charlie Park says:


    Applicable, too, even for freelancers / single-person companies: What processes are you executing, yourself, that could be automated (taking you out of the process)?

  2. Rick Turoczy says:

    @Charlie Park: Brilliant right back at you, brother! You’re exactly right. This is probably even more critical from the consulting side of the desk. You’re consulting to solve a problem, not to suckle off of it.

  3. Hm. At first I didn’t agree with this, but thinking about it, if you’re speaking about constantly reinventing and improving your position, that’s great. Otherwise, I think it would be hard to find the motivation to work this way.

  4. Rick Turoczy says:

    @Rebecca Thorman: It’s okay to disagree with me. 🙂 But, yes, that’s the angle I was taking, albeit in a more obtuse way.

  5. Pingback: Practicing what we preach | More than a living

  6. Pingback: Modite - Engagement for the next generation

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