5 Ways to Become Irreplaceable at Work
by Catherine Conlan
Monster Contributing Writer

It’s hard to feel secure at work when there’s so much bad news about the economy swirling around. Luckily, there are some things you can do to turn yourself into a resource your company will work hard to keep around:

1. Stand out.

Invisibility is dispensability, says Aimee Cohen of Cohen Career Consulting. When you’re in any work environment, “it’s critical that people know who you and what you're doing.”

Cohen recommends taking on additional job responsibilities, developing cross-functional relationships in the workplace, and volunteering for committees, boards and leadership positions. Doing so keeps your work profile fresh and visible.

2. Talk to your boss.

“Many people spend a lot of time and energy avoiding their boss,” Cohen says, and that’s a big mistake. “You should actively communicate with your boss on a regular basis, develop a relationship, and clarify expectations,” she explains. “Not only should you make your boss look good, make your boss your ally, not your enemy.”

When you talk with your boss, don’t be afraid to be your own cheerleader. Managers don’t always know everything their employees are up to, and if you are enhancing your skills or taking on new projects, you want your boss to know.

3. Don't be a drag.

People will go out of their way to avoid unpleasant co-workers. “If you are always rolling your eyes, texting in meetings, complaining, or just being plain difficult to work with, that is not going unnoticed,” says Julie Bauke of the Bauke Group.

Even if your skills are at the top of their game, it’s possible that a bad attitude can prove the difference when a department needs to cut someone. If you find that your impatience or contempt for your co-workers, department or company is showing, “either knock it off, or get a job that is a better fit for you, and work on becoming irreplaceable there,” Bauke advises.

4. Find your place.

Understanding your role within a department and company will help you make yourself indispensable to both.

“People who truly get how their work fits are generally more invested, bigger thinkers and more likely to be seen as engaged and committed,” Bauke says -- and those are the kind of employees that a company wants to hold onto.

If you feel the mission of your department or company is unclear or lacking, talk to a manager about putting a committee together to clarify goals and get the organization on track.

5. Discover ways to develop and grow.

The more you invest in yourself to grow in your role, the more the company will see you as an investment.

“Think of ways you can proactively make yourself more marketable and competitive,” Cohen recommends, suggesting taking actions such as following up on professional development opportunities, enhancing your computer skills, boning up on industry knowledge, earning new certifications and attending seminars. The more a company invests in you, the more it will find you irreplaceable.

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