be indispensable at work

Want guaranteed job security? Make yourself indispensable at work in just 4 ways

One thing most people desire from their careers is job security. They don’t want to go into the office one day to find that their position has been eliminated and that they’re no longer needed. Events like that can feel like the rug is pulled out from under you – suddenly, your life is in disarray, and you need to find another job ASAP before your savings run out.

Unfortunately, when you work for someone else, there is no real guarantee that your job will always be there. There will almost always be circumstances beyond your control, and you never really know what might happen to a company.

With that being said, if you can make yourself borderline indispensable at work, you can increase your chances of sticking around long term. When a company needs to make tough decisions on who to let go, they will think twice when it comes to you if your role happens to be a vital part of the company’s success. And while company needs are different, there are a few traits that all indispensable people have in common.

1. Be helpful

First, indispensable people are helpful. All too often in the business world, people become a bit too competitive with their co-workers, and as a result, they may tend to keep to themselves rather than foster a more collaborative relationship. They believe that if a coworker makes a mistake, it will make themselves look better by comparison. So, rather than offering a helping hand and making the company better as a whole, the employee holds back and waits for their opportunity to shine by comparison.

This is the wrong way to try to make yourself indispensable. Upper management notices and remembers those who are helpful and always willing to lend a hand to anyone in need. You might not get praised for it very often, but if the office comes to know you as the person they can turn to when they need help, this could work in your favor in the future.

2. Go the extra mile

A second common trait among the indispensable is that they go the extra mile. Indispensable people don’t simply do the work assigned to them and then make it look like they’re working for the remainder of the work day – instead, they look for additional ways to help the company or for more assignments they can get a head start on. If the boss is looking for a volunteer to take on a project, the indispensable employee has their hand in the air right away.

Let’s take the simple example of two waiters working at a restaurant. Whenever the restaurant becomes busy, the manager asks if one of them can stay for a few extra hours. Each time, the same employee says yes, while the other employee finds an excuse to leave. A few months later, when the boss needs to let someone go, which employee do you think is more likely to remain on staff? By going the extra mile and taking on more work than required, an employee can become a vital part of the business operation.

3. Look for ways to innovate

After a business has been around for a while, it can become set in its ways. They find a method for doing things that works and they stick with it for years. Almost every business is guilty of this, and revisiting specific operations or processes to gauge its efficiency every few years can be beneficial. However, the indispensable employee takes initiative with tasks like these, and has no problem attempting to innovate new solutions for their company. By looking at the current systems in place – whether it be software applications, how meetings are conducted, or even the hiring process – and finding better ways to do things, an indispensable employee shows that they are essential for the growth of the company.

For example, let’s say employees in your company currently deal with many small, manual tasks each week. If you’re a software developer, and in your free time you came up with a program or system that can automate these tasks, you’ve not only made your fellow colleagues happier (since they no longer have to do this tedious work), but you’ve saved your company some money by making its employees more efficient. In fact, this particular example demonstrates all three of the qualities mentioned above – you helped out your co-workers, you went the extra mile by working in your free time, and you innovated a new way to improve the company.

4. Be reliable

Finally, it is important that you are reliable. Doing all the things mentioned above will only take you so far – if one week you are eager to help out the company in any way that you can, and the next week you miss all of your assignments, this will only demonstrate inconsistency, not reliability. It is not enough to do an indispensable act every once in a while; you need to make it a habit.

Before you start going above and beyond to demonstrate your worth, first get your own work in order. Make sure everything you are assigned to do is being completed correctly and on time, and that the bosses know they can rely on you to do your job. Once you’ve established this, you can move onto improving your standing within the company and integrating yourself as an indispensable part of the operation.

Being indispensable is only sensible

In your quest to becoming indispensable at work, you may find those who view you as only kissing up to the boss. Don’t let this discourage you from your mission – being indispensable at work is worth it. If you like your job, and you don’t want to involuntarily go through the hiring process again, why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to keep your job?

Becoming indispensable at work is an admirable goal, and one that everyone should strive for. Not only will you increase your chances of keeping your job, but you will improve the company around you. All it takes is a little bit of extra work and some out of the box thinking before the company realizes that it relies on you too much to let you go.