Is Your Job Secure? 14 Ways to Stay Indispensable

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: January 16, 2012

These days, when organizations are downsizing in an effort to "right size," it's more important than ever not to melt into the crowd at work.

Whether your goal is to keep the paychecks coming at a steady rate or to advance your career, you'll have a better chance of being successful if you're viewed as indispensable.

This article explores 14 ways to ensure your organization can't live without you.

1. Be noticeable

Introduce yourself to others, say hello and ask how co-workers are doing, and never pass up the opportunity to get to know someone on a deeper level.

You're dispensable when people don't know who you are.

2. Be a team player

No matter how vulnerable you are feeling, sabotaging others to make yourself look better never pays off.

If you are not able to bring out the best in others (and ultimately in the organization) your boss may decide to replace you with someone who can.

3. Develop a unique knowledge base or skill

Excel in areas where others in your department are weak. Make note of these areas and develop additional skills and knowledge.

Filling an important gap will ensure that others see you as invaluable.

4. Be positive

When things aren't going well for you or for the company, instead of focusing on the negative, turn your energy toward something positive.

Fear of failure -- whether it's your own failure, the failure of your department or team, or of the organization as a whole -- can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Negativity is tough to be around, even more so in tough times, and your boss may decide your company is better off without you.

5. Cultivate a life outside of work

Indulge in your interests, hobbies, and passions. People with many interests -- even when those interests aren't related to work -- are typically perceived as having more to bring to the table than those who are one-dimensional.

For example, a person who has earned accolades for competing in sports may be viewed as someone who could bring that same competitive nature to the business.

6. Learn more

Take as many training and development courses as possible.

There's always more to learn. The more you keep up and work toward advancing your knowledge and skill set, the more valuable you'll be.

7. Pay attention to the decisions you make

Get in the habit of making decisions based on the bigger picture. Instead of making decisions based on what's best for you personally, make them based on what's best for the organization. This will be noticed.

8. Take responsibility for your mistakes...

... and come up with ways to fix them. Everyone makes mistakes; it' how you handle them that really counts.

If you show that you recognize your mistakes, are learning from them, and are willing to do what it takes to clean them up, you'll be way more valuable than the person who denies their mistakes, or tries to pawn them off on someone else.

9. Rewrite your job description

Notice any responsibilities that are slipping through the cracks, and ask your boss for the challenge of taking on these additional duties that you see are being neglected.

10. Network

Join one or two online social networks, become active in professional organizations, and make a list of people you want to connect with and keep in touch with.

Networking ensures that you stay in the loop and are visible, and this will make you more memorable and valuable.

11. Share your knowledge and experience

If you are perceived as a person who contributes to the growth of others, you'll be viewed as indispensable.

Offer to hold a roundtable, seminar, or workshop in an area of expertise to help others get up to speed, and never pass up the daily opportunities to share what you know.

12. Stick it out when the going gets tough

Lots of people give up, become negative, or quit during tough times. If you aren't one of them, you'll stand out. Remember the saying, "The last mile on the road to success is never crowded."

13. Say "yes" to opportunities that come your way

Not only will this open a wider variety of doors for you to walk through in the future, you'll be seen as someone who is always willing to take on a challenge.

14. Always do your best, no matter what the task

It's inevitable that, at some point, we face tasks that are boring, or that seem meaningless or tedious.

However, don't forget that even the smallest of tasks have an impact on the big picture.

In addition, putting your best self forward will make you feel positive and proud of yourself, and that's something your boss is sure to notice.

Super performance, super employee

The key to being invaluable at work lies in boosting your performance and your profile.

Follow the 14 tips in this article, and you’re sure to go from being invisible, to being indispensable.

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