One of the lessons many learned from the recent economic troubles is that almost no one is indispensable. You never know when your job could be on the chopping block. You can, however, decrease the chance that you will be the one laid off when these decisions are made. The key is showing that you are valuable — and possibly indispensable.
Here are some ways that by being indispensable you can prove your usefulness, keep your job, and maybe even get ahead:
Are you flexible? One of the best ways to prove your value on the job is to be flexible. Can you work beyond your job description? Are you willing to learn new things? Do you look for ways to improve your abilities? Being able to handle additional job responsibilities, and having the flexibility to acquire new skills, are essential for success in life, as well as in your career. If you can show your adaptability, you are more likely to keep your job, even during difficult times.
Acquire Marketable Skills
In addition to adaptability, you should also strive to improve your marketable skills. Find out what skills your employer values, and what skills can help your employer. Then, work to acquire them. Find out what certifications you might need to improve your job performance. You can also work to improve your communication skills (written and oral), and find other ways to be of use. You might be able to take seminars, or classes, to help you improve your skills.
Be a Problem Solver
Creative problem solving will almost always be valued. If you can develop problem solving skills, you are more likely to enjoy better job security. Look for ways to improve matters at your job. This can include finding creative ways to boost productivity, cut costs or satisfy customers. The idea is to show that you are someone who helps get things done, spotting helpful solutions to problems, rather than doing little more than pointing them out. Develop a reputation as a go-to person for creative solutions, and keep your job longer.
Have a Positive Attitude
Your attitude can also have an impact on your workplace, and your ability to do your job — and retain your employment. Someone with a bitter, poisonous attitude can can case all sorts of problems at work. If you are resentful, and show an attitude of entitlement, you can lower morale. Additionally, you might be among the first of those let go during tough economic times.
A positive attitude can help your co-workers keep going. Plus, if you do your job cheerfully, you will be considered an asset to your company — especially when added to your flexibility, additional skills and problem solving abilities.
Don’t Become the Only Expert on One Topic
Some people make the mistake thinking being indispensable means they master one aspect of their job and become the sole expert at their company. They think that by doing this they are indispensable and can’t be fired since they are the only one who knows how to format the TPS report, for example. What this attitude really does is lock you into one position with no room for advancement. How can the company promote you if you’re the only one who can do your job? It can also put you on a fast track to being irrelevant. One new system or technological change can make what you do obsolete. You’re better off following the tips above than making yourself the “indispenable” expert.
In order to improve your ability to do your job, and to show your value to your employer, it can help to take an active approach. Look for ways to adapt to the changing economy and business environment, and find ways to solve problems at your workplace. With a little extra effort, you can increase the chances that you survive the next round of lay offs.