I’ve had lots of odd jobs over the years.

I landed my first gig as a Perkins hostess at the tender and irresponsible age of 16, and, since then, I’ve been a submarine sandwich delivery driver, music store employee, book store employee, department store employee, daycare provider, adult home care provider, Starbucks barista, amateur musician, and even a phlebotomist for a blood bank (we were affectionately called “vampires”). I love learning new things and, at each stop, have always been eager to help. I’ve definitely had some interesting experiences as a result.

But one thing I’ve never experienced is the ax. Knock on wood, I’ve never been fired from a job before. I used to think it was because I liked to fly under the radar so nobody would notice me. I kept my head down, worked hard, did my job, and kept my trap shut (well, for the most part, anyway).

But then I found a post on our LinkedIn page by Joe Crisara, who posed the question, “Would anyone notice if you got fired?” The discussion directs the reader to a post on ContractorSelling.com that points out how, in order to get ahead in a society that conditions us to fit in, we need to stand out and find ways to become indispensable to our employers.

The post goes on to outline three steps employees can take to become indispensable to their employers: 1) become the go-to expert; 2) create raving customer fans; and 3) bring home the bacon.

“Being indispensable is a three-legged stool and if any one of those legs are missing, your future in the service business becomes unstable,” the post reads. “Do you think being good with customers is enough? Not if you have callbacks and fail to meet the financial numbers your company needs to succeed. You think that being technically sound is all you need? This is a people business, not a ‘broken parts’ business. You can sell a lot and bring in the money? It’s worthless if you are churning and burning through customers and creating more frustrations than solutions.”

A Forbes.com article lists another dozen or so things employees can do to make themselves indispensable to their employers, including do work that matters, not work that’s easy; monopolize a particular skill; be willing to go the extra mile; monopolize an important relationship; be a team player; have a good attitude; always try to offer solutions; and more.

Now, take a moment to think about which of your employees are indispensable. Whom could your company not function without? What is it that makes those particular employees so valuable to your company or organization? Then, make a list of the qualities your indispensable employees possess and share that list with all of your employees.

And if you’re the employee, take a close look at some of the seasoned employees at your company. What are they doing that’s different from what you’re doing? What can you do differently to add value to the company and make yourself stand out as an employee they simply can’t live without? By making a few changes, you can help ensure you have a job for many, many years to come.

Publication date: 9/29/2014 

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