Pacific Morning by Paul Bica

Guest Post by Shanan Sorochynski

Last February I wrote a post about Taking Time Off When You Work In Social Media and recently reaped the rewards of putting that advice into action.

I had two challenges:

  1. Finding someone capable of doing the work
  2. Leaving behind a workload my backup could realistically do in addition to their other responsibilities.

I didn’t train someone over the course of a few days to take over for me, I  familiarized them with what I do little-by-little over the course of the year.

I didn’t want to put them in a situation where they had to absorb a lot of information in a short span of time and then toss them out into the world.

Trial by fire seems kind of mean.

Instead I made sure that when I left the basics of my job were second nature to them.

I told this to someone and they responded by telling me that what I was doing was folly for my career. If you train someone else to do parts of your job you stop being indispensable. You become replaceable.

I didn’t want to tell him that . . . well . . . everyone is replaceable.  Priorities change.

Job security is a beautiful, beautiful thing in this economy, but I don’t think it comes from guarding your special corner of the office.

What about growth and rising through the ranks?

How can you be promoted if you can’t be replaced?

Also, anyone who actively uses social media in communications knows that sharing is a good thing.

In this case it means I have one more person in the office who understands my job (and that improves collaboration between us); can assist in emergencies; helps other members of the team with social media related questions; and provides the organization with a seamless transition in the off-chance I win millions of dollars in the lottery and disappear in the middle of the night leaving my office a barren wasteland of tech and tumbleweeds.

One is a good start. But if you can increase the number of people who share some of your skills, all the better.

By maintaining an employee learning group, my backup had approximately 25 other employees in the organization who could assist her with social media monitoring and getting the word out if things got hairy.

And if nothing else, you should share your knowledge with your co-workers because it secures your opportunity for victory mojitos on the deck after a long, productive year.


Image: Paul Bica via Flickr, CC 2.0

Shanan-SorochynskiShanan Sorochynski manages the University of Regina’s first official blog: YOURblog. Previous to this she was the managing editor of U of R Report, the University’s faculty and staff internal publication, and a print journalist in Manitoba.