Make yourself Indispensable at Work

By: John Groth

Career Development: Steps you can take NOW to advance your career.

Like your job? Working for a good organization? If the answer to either is yes, and you've been on the job for awhile, maybe you should consider making yourself indispensable. In truth is no one is truly indispensable, but for career growth by working hard at making yourself indispensable, your career will prosper either with your current employer, or you'll be a top candidate for a job with another organization.

First, assess your strengths, weaknesses and your value to your group. What is your competition? Now develop a plan with both long and short term strategies to boost your value within the operation.

Following are 10 immediate actions you can take to make you more promoteable or make you irreplaceable in the face of downsizing or reorganizing:

Take ownership of your responsibilities. View your department as a separate company. Consider your actions as if you were president of your company. Look at the balance sheet on every decision you make. Will the decision be seen as an asset or liability? Try to always see the bigger picture.

1.Take responsibility for your career and personal advancement. Be proactive. What are others in the same position doing in other organizations? What results are they achieving? What can you learn from then? How can you initiate those actions within your "company?"

2.Maintain a positive attitude. Look for ways, even under stress, to find the positive in everything. Find options to overcome obstacles and don't entertain the thought the situation is impossible. Stay away from the naysayers.

3.Consider outsourcing non-critical functions. Become an expert in this area. Lean organizations become more efficient by outsourcing. Let your management know you can effectively run things with fewer people.

4.Find tasks to do better or something that is not being done. In many organizations, especially those in a downsizing mode, responsibilities slip between the cracks. Propose to your boss that you pick up the slack. If you need extra training see that you are prepared. Don't be bashful about broadcasting the positive results.

5.Let others know what you're doing. As mentioned in #5 above, if you or your team achieves something important to the organization let others know. Some managers believe if they keep quiet and blend into the background they'll be overlooked when and if the axe falls. Don't believe it. Be wise in spreading the word. It isn't bragging if you've done it.

6.Excel in an area your boss is weak in. Look for opportunities in this area. Your boss is a good speaker but weak on material, there's an opportunity. Your boss is great on ideas but weak on financial analysis, there's an opportunity. If your boss is good on people skills but weak on technology, there's an opportunity. You see the trend, keep you eyes open and this is an area in which you can be truly be indispensable.

7.Leverage outside contacts. Look for opportunities to be a company spokesperson at professional and community events. Get approval in advance and let your boss know what you're doing. Be sure to brief management on issues or information you learn in your outside contacts.


8.Be a team player. Always support your boss and your team. Don't get involved in petty jurisdictional fights that could derail the overall success of a program or the organization. However, remain as independent as possible in choosing your role on the team or what part of the project you'll be responsible for.

9. Invest in yourself and your career. Stay current in your field by taking training and development courses and seminars. Read inspirational and motivational books, listen to CD's in your car on your commute, and keep up to date on the economy and business in general.

Now since you're acting like you are running your own business, you need to keep yourself informed and motivated. Seize any opportunity to sell yourself and show what you can do. Be sure to share information and build up your department by becoming an outstanding contributor. You'll find that in becoming indispensable you'll be elevating your career-and isn't developing you career the real goal?

Careers and Job Hunting
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