Monday, October 11, 2021

You Are Irreplacable but Not Indispenable

There is a thing that happens where you have been doing a thing and you wish to let someone else do the thing, but you fear it will not happen without you and so you keep doing it, and yet, because you don't want to still be doing it, both it and you suffer.  
When I first volunteered for one role, there was a four year cap.  I loved that cap.  It meant I couldn't be stuck forever, I would essentially be forced out.  And then we hit four years and someone decided a four year cap was silly, and removed it, and there were changes afoot so I agreed to stay to provide continuity, and that's how I ended up doing that thing for ten years.  
The things is, I am wonderful.  I am great.  But other people are wonderful and great too.  And while there certainly is something to be said for continuity, there's also something to be said for new people with new ideas.  Especially in cyclical roles, it's easy to start to be like oh yes, very similar to the thing we tried five years ago that didn't work.  Sometimes it's useful to tell folks about the thing that didn't work, and sometimes you are just squashing all the ideas before they can blossom.  Knowing the difference is tough.  
But, you might say, this one thing no one else really will do.  And sometimes that is true too.  I've stepped down from things that never got taken over.  And in the end, I am sad, but that is okay too.  
I have stepped down from things I was sure no one would take over only to have someone do it.  And chances are, they never would have done so unless I stepped down.  And I have stepped into things after watching someone run it badly, so sure, problems are a possibility.  But I think especially as we're all facing various kinds of burnout and overwork due to the still ongoing pandemic, it's important to remember that while you are wonderful and no one else will do things the way you do them, someone else might be just fine if you make space for them to step into.