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How to become indispensable at work
Living without job security can be extremely stressful. According to some studies, the fear of losing your job can be more harmful to your health than actually losing it. Simple things like being positive and polite, taking feedback when it’s given and being reliable are all great ways to stay employed, even when your company is letting people go.
Being indispensable means making it incredibly difficult for management to replace you. Here are our top tips on how to make yourself indispensable at work.
Be extremely reliable
Reliability isn’t just about showing up on time: it’s about being there when things get tough. So helping out in a difficult situation – staying behind to hit that deadline, even if someone else dropped the ball, or taking the more productive but more challenging route – will show that you’re more reliable than the average employee. That said, you shouldn’t feel that you are being taken advantage of, so select opportunities to shine when they really count.
Make your boss’ job easier
If you’re making your boss' job easier, then they’re likely to fight to keep you if there’s a question about your employment. Having someone influential on your side at work is very important – and if they see you as a person who makes their job easier and makes their team look good, they’ll be on your side.
This isn’t about being teacher’s pet, but about creating genuine value: try and find a gap in skills so that there are things you can do that your boss can’t, anticipate and smooth over potential roadblocks, and generally become the person who gets the job done. The more heavily your boss relies on you, the more indispensable you become.
Work on key projects
Focus on and prioritise the work that’s most important, not the work that’s easiest to do. Not only does it give you a greater sense of fulfilment and challenge in your role, it will also help build your profile within the business. Volunteering for projects that other team members don’t want to do will ensure that you’re seen as a dedicated go-getter and a valuable member of the team.
Be the expert
Become the go-to person for your area. Monopolise a particular skill. Find some task that needs to get done and make sure that you are the person who knows how to do it best – it might be proof reading, Excel spreadsheets, or data analysis. Having a unique selling point, as well as expanding your skills, will guarantee that you are indispensable at work – and in future roles. Get training to hone in on your abilities and boost your skills.
While it’s worth positioning yourself as an expert with niche knowledge and skills, it’s also important you can be generous and share your expertise with your team and add value to the wider department. Be willing to educate others and gain yourself a status as an invaluable training asset.
Build relationships with key decision makers
It’s both what you know and who you know when it comes to safeguarding yourself at work. Being connected and building relationships with people who matter in the business can not only make you indispensable in your current role, but can take you a long way in your career. You can do this by asking questions that show your interest, asking for their views, and discussing industry trends.
Managers don’t want problems. They want solutions. So if you want to be indispensable, you need to find ways to solve problems faced by the business. When you overhear your colleagues complaining about something that isn’t working, figure out how to fix it and you’ll increase your value to your manager and to the company as a whole.
For more advice on how to grow your career, go to our Career Advice blog.
To help safeguard your career, you can’t just do your job – you have to step up to prove your value by:
· Being reliable and hardworking
· Making life easier for your boss by anticipating and eliminating problems
· Volunteering to be part of important work within the company
· Cultivating a useful skill that you’re willing to teach to others