You have likely heard the saying that “no one is indispensible” when it comes to any job or task. While this may be true in theory, when the job market gets tight and the economy is on the downturn, anything that you can do to help you to keep your job can be a good thing. One way to make sure that you don’t lose your job is to make sure that there is no one on the planet who can come in and do the very same thing that you do!
Contrary to what you might think, making yourself indispensible does not mean being tricky or keeping secrets from your coworkers or employers. It is much better to go at things positively and proactively-what can you do to improve your skills and work in such a way that it will bring great value to your job or company? What positive steps can you take that will make it nearly impossible for them to find someone to replace you?
The truth is, in a tight job market, there may be dozens and hundreds of people with resume’s at least as strong as yours; with great job experience, education, etc. This means that you may need to step up your game to keep your job. Of course, there is no way to guarantee or force your employer to keep you on, but you can do your part to make yourself indispensible (if you DO lose your job, you will still have all these skills and contacts to bring to someone else.)
Consider how you can nurture relationships and cultivate contacts. If you are able to “speak the language” or work well with others-especially people who are known for being challenging or difficult-this will be a great asset to your company. Look for ways to build strong relationships and develop even stronger communication and negotiating skills.
Look for ways to volunteer or work on projects and accounts that no one else wants to. By taking on the necessary but unpleasant tasks that no one else wants to do, you can also increase your value to the company. Sit on committees, tackle the tough accounts, or any other tasks and situations that everyone else shies away from and you will make yourself more difficult to replace.
Finally, cultivate your budgeting and time management skills. In the end, if you can save the company money, come in under budget or make sure that projects don’t run over in terms of time or resources, you will be a valuable cornerstone of any department or company. Of course you won’t want for quality to suffer, but if you can trim your budget and keep costs low, while producing great work, you will be an indispensible asset.