Be Indispensable
by Michael Mayher

We live in a period of great change, which in-turn, has a lot of people glancing over their shoulders wondering what’s next to change. The biggest concern for many is their job status and security; most everyone knows someone that’s been negatively affected the last few years. Among those who’ve been impacted, some spring to action, do what is necessary, make adjustments and with effort they regain their footing as best they can and move forward. Yet increasingly, others really have a tough time recovering. In light of all the changes, it astounds me there are still a majority of people doing nothing to be better prepared, just-in-case. Human nature is such that unless there is a need to be on alert, most people get comfortable and settle into a routine resulting in atrophy, their senses dull and so if/when the time comes they are slower to react. I would suggest you not be one of them, those who fail to prepare themselves until it is too late, only to lament what they could’ve, should’ve or would have done in hindsight.

In my profession I meet scores of people but in fact, I can only actively help and represent a very small number of them. This is the reason for the advice I provide in the form of my blog, articles, and my handbook for job seekers, lectures – in order to lend some assistance as best as I can. And beginning this autumn as a matter of fact, I’ll be begin conducting seminars for people who want to improve their job search and interview abilities to better compete with others, who are all scrambling for the same jobs. Because plainly speaking, people I counsel and advise always perform better in the interview process.

Being indispensable means the company would suffer without you, your work and your abilities as well as your effectiveness. Frankly, it can often go unnoticed and can at times, be thankless. In fact it is common, that it can be taken completely for granted until, one day you are not there anymore. Many people who are conscientious and good at what they do, sometimes complain that they are the go-to person in their organization, whilst others are less effective and participate only when prodded or they think the boss is watching. I hear people who tell me, “They (management) always come to me because I am dependable and I get the job done, while others sit around doing nothing”.

There was a time when pride in one’s work mattered (more); when personal excellence was something to strive for. It appears to have gone out of style but let me tell you, when it is time to thin the ranks and let people go, who do you think they are going to begin with when they start handling out layoff notices? I am not referring to situations when entire teams, groups of divisions are let go, those are usually financial and profit based decisions. But rather, when individuals are targeted do you know the term used by management at such times? Dead wood is an oft used term to describe those they want to clear out and get rid of. So ask yourself, about whom are they speaking – might it be you or is it always someone else – I don’t know, I am just posing a question.

If you’re intent is to be more indispensable, you need to regularly perform at or above expectations, whatever it is you do, without be prompted or told. If you are or can be involved in any special projects or operations at work, be proactive and involved. Whenever possible, take advantage and exploit any training your company might offer and provide, especially if they will pay for it, or cost share. Be the person who is viewed as dependable, the one who get things done right and ahead of schedule or deadline. If taking some college or trade school courses is a possibility for you and might up your market value, do more than just consider it. When you get right down to it, the level of effort resulting in the difference between mediocre and excellent, is in reality quite small.

I imagine there are those who consider what I am suggesting as brown-nosing or sucking up to management. Still others might say, “What’s the point, even if I do all those things I still might lose my job anyway.” Yeah, you might and sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent it. But don’t be myopic; look further down the road ahead. You’re not doing it for them, but for you. Ideally, you are better preparing yourself at their expense. Sure they benefit and when it comes time to let people loose they might reflect and say, “…what can we do to keep your name here…?” And here’s the other thing, if or when you look for another job, either by choice or necessity, you’re more marketable than others who did nothing or waited too late. I’m a headhunter and when I look at someone’s resume, before I determine if I can effectively represent a person, I look for some of the things described in the 5th paragraph (above) – and so do employers.

Times are such that it seems we have less and less real influence over the direction our lives and livelihoods take us. But self-development and improvement, personal excellence and pride in one’s work, even to a small degree, is truly in our own hands. Be better prepared, so as not to be run-over when change comes either by choice, or by circumstance. 

More articles by Michael Mayher:
Unprepared for the Interview
Workplace Harassment
About Urgency
Job Seekers Hurt Their Own Chances
Another Warning About Social Media Exposure
The Problem with HR
Get Noticed
The Chicken or the Egg
The Confidence Deficit
Earn the Opportunity to Say No
Resume Usefulness
After the Interview
Getting an Invitation
Reference Checked Before the Interview
Networking Effectively
A Failure to Communicate
Increasing Your Chances
Why You Should Heed My Advice

To Those Still Asleep
The Way It Was/The Way It Is
Demonstrating Interest is Not Begging
Confidence is a Key Ingredient
Stop Relying on the Internet
Career Survival Skills: The First Interview
The Interview
Resolve to Make This Year, Your Year
Periodic Update of Your Resume

About the Author: Michael Mayher has been an international direct search recruiter on two continents for over 22 years. A consultant, published author, lecturer and blogger, he re-introduces professionals to critical Soft Skills lost in our digital age and necessary to effectively navigate their careers. You can find more information by visiting his blog and website.  

Top companies on
Expedia ManpowerGroup Utilitywise Prague Grafton Recruitment s.r.o. Amadeus Media Group Dorset Recruitment