When I was 22 years old I landed my first job in the recruiting world working for a large staffing firm out of downtown Boston which focused on Construction. I was offered the following advice from the owner of the company… “Make yourself indispensable and life is easy.”
At the time I thought I understood the advice. In my mind I had to be the best in the room to make myself indispensable….simple I thought. Now, after working with tons of potential placements I’ve got a pretty good feel for what makes an employee indispensable.
This is the biggest one there is. People LIKE to be around other people who have an infectious enthusiasm for what they do. It motivates them and everyone around them. People with a solid outlook and who make the best out of their situation will naturally gain support from peers.
We currently have a client looking to replace one of their top people in the finance group. The reason? Well it turns out their work is great and they get everything done on time but they have a horrible attitude and poison the office environment.
2- Show Up
Seems simple right? It is amazing how much of life is showing up and how doing a LITTLE extra with the right attitude goes so far in the eyes of our clients or superiors. People who tend to succeed are not just workaholics as some people like to think. There is a tendency for those on the lower end of the ladder to point at the top and say “Oh…yeah he’s in the INNER circle.” or “She gets every opportunity.” Those people who succeed very rarely do so because the know someone or because they work all weekend long. Usually these people are very good at recognizing time and place. Meaning that let’s say you have Friday off to visit family down the Cape for a long weekend and although its been on the books for a long time its not a HUGE deal. Suddenly at work you hear that there is final bid going in Friday at 5pm and its crunch time. Stepping up right there before being asked and volunteering to help out and take the time somewhere else could be the difference between your promotion in 10 months or staying right where you are.
3- Playing well with others
In engineering school there is no class called “how to get along with people”. There should be but there isn’t. One of the absolute KILLERS we hear in our industry when reference checking is “He’s a hot head” or “She did not get along with her team.” It is so important to try and work well with others. These are your future references and these people MIGHT be the difference between a promotion or a new job.
To wrap it up…being indispensable is not about being the BEST at everything. We often hear that word and think oh…thats not me I’m more average. The truth is most people are average…thats why its called average. The difference makers are the little things that separate you from everyone else.