If you are the average worker in the average job then you can be replaced. The reason I tell people this is because I want to help them realize that there are important things in life and then there are VERY important things in life. Make sure you are good in the areas of life that you aren’t replaceable (family) and then focus on the other areas (work). This is my view, but I think anyone with a family probably feels the same way. Telling someone they are replaceable is a great cure for arrogance.
I appreciate the work that my folks do and tell them that, but Microsoft will go on without them. Think about the last time someone left your team. How long did it take before they were a distant memory? Probably a day or so then the team moves on with their work. I'm not saying don't care about work. I'm saying care about the VERY important things more. If your work/life balance is off and the VERY important things are threatened, then take a break and get some help.
At work you can be replaced in about 5 minutes, but you are effectively irreplaceable at home. Keep that in mind. I think about it every day.
Jon Gallant speaks the truth. Aside from any personal beliefs on which is more important or meaningful1, its pretty clear that it would be much easier for your employer to find somebody to do your job than it would be for your spouse/children to find their way without you. We all have a desire to be significant and necessary I think, we just don't always value it in the places we are.
I fully agree with him on that. Family will always be first for me. ↩