Make Yourself Indispensable. How to Keep Your Job – Part 1

Millions of jobs have been lost over the last year. A recent survey indicated that almost 50% of American’s are worried about losing their job. Our job market hasn’t experienced these staggering numbers since 1974. With more companies laying people off, how can you insulate yourself from the rest of the work force and maintain your employment without becoming another statistic?

Today, employers have less tolerance for mediocrity, and just doing enough to get by creates the opening for someone who’s hungrier (or more desperate) to take your position. Being valuable takes precedent over being important these days. Every job today has become more valuable and as such, every person more transparent about how much of a measurable impact they’re having to the bottom line.

Here are a few career retention strategies to adopt (as well as some things to avoid doing) to stay employed and what you can do to avoid being the next one cut. It all starts by becoming more proactive and shifting away from the reactive posture many people are taking.

These strategies can make the difference between you moving up the ladder of success or moving out the door.

In this first of an eight part series, we’re going to start with what you can do to make yourself indispensable.

1. Make Yourself Indispensable

Do More For Less: Work longer hours and take on more responsibility. Take on more work and as many assignments as you possibly can, even the workload of two people without asking for more compensation or recognition. Over-deliver on what’s expected while managing realistic expectations with your manager.

Be the best at what you do. Period. Find out what the top producers are doing and do it or better.

Round out your skills. As more companies shrink in size regarding number of employees, there’s still a significant amount of work that needs to get done. Those who are open to new ideas and are willing to stretch themselves regarding learning new skills and adapting to a new culture are the ones who will be retained. Conversely, those who have a very narrow skill set that may have been deemed valuable when initially hired yet can’t help beyond their current role will be the likely first candidates to go.

Build Your Skills: Be the best you can be. Get a coach. Take continuing education classes. If you’re not, your colleague is. How important is your career?

Being valuable takes precedent over being important. It doesn’t really matter where you sit in the organization in tough times, being a contributor who can be counted on to do the important work is the most significant position to take and certainly takes precedent over being “important.” Managers need to roll up their sleeves and get back in the trenches if it means making their numbers or not, even if that means having to pick up the phone to make a cold call or two.