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Fireproof: How To Make Yourself Indispensable At Work

In a world of employment cutting back, make sure you’re not the first to go and, if you are, put yourself in an excellent position to get back on the horse.
by Rosamund Mather | Oct 16 2017
Become the office linchpin

Fall should be the perfect time to step up our game – what could be more motivational than memories of the fresh school semester, with the smell of new notebooks and the promise of knowledge? If only it were that easy. Once we’ve entered the world of work, it’s dog-eat-dog — but luckily, these tips will help make you the local linchpin in your workplace.

The new technological reality

As technology improves and globalization soars, we live increasingly in an age of outsourcing. This means that jobs that are not location-dependent can be done by workers living in countries with lower costs of living, who’ll accept lower wages. It’s hard, but it’s true. What’s more, artificial intelligence and online filters are playing more of a role in the way we work and what we learn. With programming and machinery becoming more sophisticated, we’ll begin to see automation increasingly phasing out roles currently occupied by people. What can you do about this? Add an edge to your work in a way that only a human can.

Merely following instructions makes you replaceable

There is a perception that some jobs can be done by anyone looking to pay the bills – but just because it’s not your dream job or your passion, it doesn’t mean you should carry it out half-heartedly. If you want to be indispensable, you have to think outside the box. A flair for problem-solving, for example, or going that extra mile to be friendly to a client won’t go unnoticed by a boss in the long run. That type of passion can’t be found in everyone. Imagine your company had to lay off some of your team tomorrow: whom would they be foolish to lose?

Regarding work as a necessary evil makes you less indispensable

Job satisfaction has declined in recent decades – down to 45% in the United States. While you can’t be blamed for job-hopping in an attempt to develop and use new skills, if you are addicted and have unrealistic expectations, it can unfortunately lead to further dissatisfaction.

Passion that coincides with professional sustainability is rare, so it may be wise not to count on that dream of yours that in fact has no viability as a career. It may help to step back from your situation, too, and see whether there are some advantages – you may find staying in your “day job” for a while might incite a passion that develops over time. Frequently, with experience comes a sense of vocation, just as efficacy and strong relationships with coworkers breed intrinsic motivation.

Be genuine — people can tell!

Emotional labor is a phrase that is often used in a negative sense. Here, though, it simply means blurring the boundary between your “personal self” and your “work self”. Make your work a platform to show the best of you — be genuine in all that you do. Striving for a different job that, on paper, you’re more passionate about, can lead to unhappiness and dissatisfaction, but you can learn to love through what you do. If you’re having trouble, put yourself in the shoes of someone whom you imagine to really love your job, and try to channel them.

Hone a craftsman mindset and gather career capital

In your work, you need to find a motivating mission that’s not an unfeasible passion trap. Develop a craftsman mindset: focus on value your job provides you and what you can bring to your job. You can hone your skills by practicing smarter, not more, and making a marked effort to pull yourself out of your comfort zone. If your goal is to have a job where you can be creative and have control in a supply-and-demand market, build up your “career capital”. This means acquiring rare or valuable skills that will set you apart from the rest. Become a pro at asking for feedback — that means you’ll know where you stand and can become better than the competition

In order to succeed and build up a reputation as a linchpin, recognize that passion is not synonymous with the willingness to work hard. Yes, you may be frustrated in your current position, but leverage it with initiative in problem-solving and displaying a good attitude. This will show your superiors that you’re someone to keep for the long haul.

Want to learn more about how to make yourself indispensable? Check out these books on Blinkist:

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