The Toughest Lesson An Employee Can Learn

noah kaganFor Noah Kagan, learning this lesson cost him $100 million.

Photo: Crunchbase

Sometimes people don’t give themselves enough credit. But if you work in a demanding job, it’s easy to give yourself too much credit.It’s easy to think, “This company wouldn’t run without me.” But everyone is replaceable.

One Facebook employee learned this lesson the hard way, and it cost him $100 million.

In 2005, Noah Kagan was hired by Facebook. He was employed for eight months before he was let go.

As Kagan describes it, Facebook was his world. He thought he was a stellar employee. It took him an entire year to get over his firing.

“I can tell you every detail of the day I got fired aka ‘let go’ aka ‘down-sized’ aka “****-canned,” he writes.

“I thought I was going to a routine coffee with my boss and randomly saw Matt Cohler sitting at the table inside (surprising)! I knew something was amiss. Matt broke the news quickly and I was in dead-shock as the words came out of his mouth. They walked me back to the office and removed my laptop and my cell phone.”

Two months before his firing, Kagan had gotten a raise and a promotion. But years later, after realising he could have made $100 million if he had kept his job just a little longer, he realised Facebook made the right decision.

“There are three types of employees,” Kagan explains. “Grower. Show-er and Veteran. I was a show-er at Facebook. [Someone who can be good for the company where they are now but NOT where they are going.] I dealt with chaos of a 30 person company extremely well….As we progressed to needing to organise massive spreadsheets and big group collaboration meetings, I zoned the F out and was then shortly out of the company.”

One of the many lessons he learned from his firing:

“EVERYONE is replaceable,” says Kagan. “You are NOT special and there is guaranteed someone better than you on this planet.”

To make yourself irreplaceable, all you can do is keep showing your worth to your employer. Grow with your company, bring new ideas to the table, and never take your job for granted.

“[Getting fired] stings the person WAY more than the company,” Kagan writes. “I thought every day that the company missed me but I’ve learned they just keep going on with business. AND (UN)FORTUNATELY most businesses get better.”

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