According to google I am now the second highest ranked authority on extreme early retirement. I suppose this comes about because I have a “google ranking” of 4 which again comes about because I have yet to bother with monetizing this site as it would require advertising it in the local paper for 4 weeks to get a DBA from the county and therefore I have not lost any google juice selling links.

Now according to Spiderman with great powers comes great responsibility. This, in one form or another, is something that it is being hammered into our minds, at least in jobs that are defined as part of a career. “If the muse sings to you, you are obligated … “, so they say.

So this got me thinking whether I am now implicitly obligated to talk about reaching early retirement because this site is now #2 #1 (last time I checked I was on page 3 with a rank of 0). Common sense would seem to suggest so, but I wonder whether this “sense” is misplaced. As I see it, power does not come with obligation, but rather with opportunity. Turning opportunity into obligation seems merely to be a political means of getting a free ride (all politics is essentially a power transfer that is not productivity based).

I have been battling the same problem in terms of my (professional) work which is in the same situation. Being one of the [world’s] leaders on subsubfield-X (I’m not telling you what it is for reasons of anonymity) (You can find out with due diligence) what would happen if I stopped working? As I have come to realize, the answer is “probably not a whole lot”. In a few years, other people would fill in the void. Besides, what I am doing is not crucial to anyone.

Note: In retrospect this prediction turned out to be true.

I am fairly confident in this. Several years ago, I got involved in world resources (commodities from a scientific perspective) and built a website that also made it to the top. After a few years of that I got the impression that we were mainly preaching to the choir (guess I was wrong). At the time there were only a handful of sites, but today there are hundreds, so jumping ship did not incur any problems.

So in conclusion I would say that you, in fact, are replaceable. Don’t worry. Somebody will step up. Staying only because you feel obligated might even be detrimental to your performance/legacy.

Originally posted 2008-05-27 07:32:47.