What do you have that the other person in a similar role doesn’t? Or, turn it around; what DON’T you have that the other has?
Job lay-offs and RIF’s (reduction in forces) are still around and unfortunately they haven’t gone away. There is still so much uncertainty in the job market (and stock market). The recent debt ceiling issue just brought back to reality the fact that things are still not great-to put it mildly. Unemployment rates and recession worries are still at ridiculously high levels and therefore hiring isn’t even close to catching up. When India and China decide to pay their workers U.S.-type wages, then we are in the clear when jobs move back home. However, does anyone see that happening anytime soon, or ever?
We all have to be thinking one thing: what can we do to keep our jobs or advance within our company? It’s simple: make yourself indispensable. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary classifies the meaning with two words: ‘Absolutely Necessary’.
Think of things that you already do that make you a key part of the team. Now think of the things that maybe you should be doing to further categorize yourself as ‘crucial’. The other terms that you should be thinking about yourself are essential, critical, necessary, vital, etc. If you can honestly distinguish yourself already as a ‘must-have’ performer, then carry on. If not, then what are the reasons why you aren’t?
Ask yourself: What are you willing to do to get noticed, move up in the company or even so basic as just to keep your current position? There are many things that hold people back. For most companies it is education. It can be the two-year or four-year type; or it could be some learning that can be done directly relatable to the industry (think EPEC or any NAED online course). Keeping up with the latest technologies and tools and how those can be implemented to either save money or increase profits are very desirable. Think of this: if someone is always working to better themselves in some way, how do you think management ranks them next to others that don’t?
Some people’s life circumstances just don’t allow a lot of extra time for education or to be ‘seen’ for extra hours during the workweek. That’s not always a bad thing but we need to come up with other ways of being indispensable. A perfect example for someone that can’t put in those 50-60 hour weeks is having seemingly unbreakable customer relationships. Here’s a way of determining how ‘close’ you are to your customers: who would follow you if you left? Forget about credit and other issues. Would those absent customers make a real impact on your current company?
It used to be that tenure meant something and was used as a yardstick for respect. The question asked now is what is the bottom-line impact in profits that you are generating? Or if someone is deemed a cost center (non-profit producer), then is the return on investment quick enough to keep you?
The consensus in business management is that those who outwork their peers are typically the ones who remain. The unwritten bonus is that because they are recognized by upper management, they can also be targeted by the competition; allowing them the potential for being approached. Most managers know this and do what they can to retain their hard-working and top performers.
Working hard with a goal in mind makes it much easier to focus when there is an incentive or motivation of some sort. That could be a yearly bonus check, a promotion that you believe you deserve or simply being comforted in knowing that your job is ‘safe’. Here’s your new mantra: ‘I will do my job, do it well and do it better than anyone else’.