Some colleagues recently left the firm and management made the decision not to backfill their positions. It tends to make me think that them leaving was not a loss for the company but rather an opportunity for cost savings with fewer people on the payroll. Perhaps the only loss was an emotional one. It’s tough to see coworkers leave after seeing them day in and day out. One coworker, who I will refer as Jake, was with the company for a very long time, we’re talking decades. Jake was responsible for lots of assignments, which made me think that whoever was replacing him would need a large amount of time to catch up. However, when I found out his position would not be backfilled, I wondered what would become of his assignments. Instead of hiring a replacement, which costs time and money, his duties were absorbed by several people in the department. At first, I thought it was ridiculous, it just meant more work for others, but after some time, I realized why it was decided this way. To be honest, if I were the one making the decision on whether or not to backfill Jack’s position, I probably would have done the same thing.
Jake was a good worker, personable, and had a great attitude, but I didn’t know what his core competency was on the team. He had a hand in many small assignments that made him a jack of all trades and a master of none. His work was not overly complicated and did not require specialized skills. No wonder his work was divided amongst the department, it was easy to transition off to others with little training. While some of his former colleagues picked up his assignments, it wouldn’t add much work onto their plates.
Jake’s situation is something I think about from time to time. Would I work to the point where my core capabilities are no longer core and can easily be passed on to anyone with a brain? Maybe the company may one day decide that I’m no longer needed and distribute my responsibilities to others. I don’t know the answer or what the future holds, anything can happen.