I Want to Train My Replacement

Last weekend, my wife and I were at a dinner party with another couple, and the husband (let’s call him Stan) said he wanted to “train his replacement.”

ideal-job-venn-diagramHe didn’t lead with that, of course. Initially, he told me he’s a corporate lawyer and looking to retire in a few years. It was when I pressed him to share with me what he really wanted for his last few working years that he said he’d love to have a protégé to pass on all his professional knowledge to. That was want he wanted more than to simply keep doing business as usual.

I asked him why he didn’t make it happen.

His response was… he was “too busy doing business as usual.”

This is an all-too-common situation. People are too busy “doing” to go after what they really want. Most don’t even know what they want because they are focused on all that they have to do right now. This all leads to one side or another of the same problem.

You’ve got to understand your value to land the right job. If you’re in a job and want to mold it to something different, you need to understand your value so that you can negotiate what you want. Your value at the executive level is how you move the needle, what makes you different. If you don’t understand this and cannot articulate it for others, you won’t have the job you want. This is something our Career Strategists educate executives on every day.

The same is true for people who are looking for a new job. They won’t even be presented with jobs that they are excited about until they understand how they are special and what they want to do. Taking a “I’ll know it when I see it” approach leads to lots of wasted time and missed opportunities. These are the people who are frustrated and wondering why they aren’t landing.

In Stan’s case, he knew what would make him feel fulfilled once asked. He just never bothered to ask himself because he was too busy doing a really good job at his job. Now he’s going to plan out how to make his boss see how important what he does is for the company and why together they should start looking for the right person to groom over a few years to replace him so that the company doesn’t miss a beat… and Stan has his ideal job.

Reach out and let me know what your (realistic) ideal job would be.

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson is ExecuNet's president and chief economist. An Arjay Miller Scholar, Mark received his MBA from Stanford University and a BA in economics from Yale University. He joined ExecuNet in 1993, with extensive marketing and new product and business development experience, having served as president and founder of A&M Associates, an investment management firm. Mark's corporate leadership experience includes several senior marketing and financial positions with RCA Global Communications (a GE subsidiary) and American Can Company.

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