What if there was a way to become indispensable, so that your employer would never even think about laying you off? This topic reminds me of smuggler Abdullah Riyaz, who was arrested at the airport in Hyderabad, India. According to News of the Weird, officials discovered four bars of solid gold in his socks, but suspected there might be more. What gave him away? Apparently he looked very uncomfortable sitting in the waiting area. After nature took its course, the officials recovered eight additional pieces of the precious metal, and Riyaz became the rare person who could brag about excreting gold.
Producing gold would be one great way to guarantee lifetime employment. But failing that, how can you ensure that your company will value your contributions enough to keep you around? Here are three Do's and one Don't for becoming indispensable wherever you work.
-- DON'T become cynical. It's easy to see people who use cynicism as a coping technique during a jobless recovery. I get it. But cynicism rarely provides the energy or answers to help increase the odds that your company will want to keep you around. Do your best to accentuate the positive; it sounds simplistic, but it really works. One great trick to do this is to avoid alcohol. That's the first place many people go when they hit tough times, but remember it's a depressant, which is like letting all the air out of your own tires.
-- DO look for the second right answer. Given today's overworked and overwhelmed labor force, when problems arise, most employees just race to find the first possible solution. But often, there is a second right answer that offers a much more robust solution. For example, Viagra. It was initially a mediocre heart drug until it took on its second life as a male enhancement product. Is there a second right answer for whatever challenge you're facing at work?
-- DO share. This seems so basic: You share ideas with people at work. But what is one of the hottest trends on TV today? Shows about hoarders. Sure, the shows are supposed to illustrate how unhealthy this habit is, but I see many people at work deciding that the best way to get ahead is to hoard information, ideas and credit. I think this tends to isolate you more than it empowers you. Share, and you just might be surprised to see your colleagues sharing in return.
-- DO ask "What if." I don't have to tell you that the workplace is constantly changing. That's why it's so important not to be satisfied with what is, but to continually ask "what if" questions. What if we dramatically reduced costs? What if we enlisted a new strategic partner to help us enlarge our customer base? What if ...
Don't you feel better already? There are lots of ways to ensure that you'll remain employed that don't involve excreting gold. I call that a win-win.
BECOMING INDISPENSABLE, EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
-- DON'T become cynical.
-- DO look for the second right answer.
-- DO share.
-- DO ask "What if."
LIST OF THE WEEK
From The Wall Street Journal:
Keeping Your Brain Active as You Age
-- People over 50 who played a computer game for more than an hour a week over a two-month period showed a clear improvement in cognitive function.
-- Other studies showed positive health improvements and improved driving records.
-- People who did crossword puzzles instead of the computer game showed no such improvements.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary." -- Vince Lombardi