By Jennifer Outcelt
Warning: The following blog post is ripe with satire and sarcasm. The opinions expressed in this blog belong to the author and should not be read by anyone.
It’s a good feeling to be needed. Not only does it feel good, some people NEED to be needed. One could even argue that the need to be needed needs to be added to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Pay attention, I NEED you to follow me on this.
OK, OK, I need to cut all this word play and get to the point. No matter how much being needed drives you, let’s agree that becoming needed at work is definitely a good thing when it comes to job security. I’m talking about becoming indispensable, niche, a defender against all hell breaking loose, and someone without whom your company would suffer. When you’re indispensable, you’re the one who can do the things that no one else can do.
I recommend that all employees should aim to become indispensable in some form in their workplace. If not for all the benefits it brings to their employers, then at least for all the adoration, sense of superiority, praise, and gloating rights it may afford. “But how, Jennifer!? How do I become this glowing beacon of indispensable workplace behavior?” I’m glad you asked! Here is a short example of one way to start your journey of indispensability. It’s quite simple.
Step 1: Get a job.
Step 2: Crush it!
Step 3: Find a weakness in the company and exploit it. (Translation: Find an area of improvement and implement a new system that only you know how to use and, since it is working so well to solve the problem, no one questions it but eventually you go on vacation and they have to keep the system running and realize they have no idea how to keep it functioning to solve their long forgotten issue and come to the conclusion that you can never ever, ever, leave again and, if you do, you feel a massive heavy weight of guilt.)
Step 4: Stage a takeover of a particular skill and monopolize it. (Translation: Find something fun that you like to do that has some cool application at your work and convince the powers that be to let you make it an integral part of the client experience and wait until it becomes a standard then wallow in regret as your passion slowly turns into your bane as their expectation for more and more of your special talent turns its joyful creation into a deadlined demand in volumes that you can barely sustain in tandem with your real job duties)
Becoming indispensable is a super power really, but, as the cliché goes, with great power comes a giant pain in the tookus. Maybe that’s not really how the saying goes, but this is my blog post and I’ll write my own reality!
But in ALL reality (not just my own) being needed to the point that you become indispensable at work is a great honor. I consider every person I share 40 hours a week with to be indispensable mainly because I couldn’t do their job, and mine would certainly be much harder if they didn’t do it either. When it comes down to it, we are all needed to make the machine work. But, sometimes, in the process of trying to become the most important cog, you realize that you are expected to do much more than you originally intended. That expectation can seem overwhelming and at times makes you wish you stayed crouched in the corner sharpening pencils and doing the bare minimum. Luckily, for most of us, the drive to be needed and make a difference beats out any desire to be lazy, and thank goodness! Otherwise, nothing would ever get done. Oh, and here is one more step to get you on your way.
Step 5: Always stay positive and continue to show up to work with a smile. (Translation: Get out of bed and make this day better than the last because that day is already gone and you know that no matter how many poopy days you have they still hardly compare to the number of great productive days that you have and this job is totally worth it because the people you work with are truly supportive and looking out for each other and if they depend on you it’s because they trust you and if not for all the gushy stuff you just remembered you also know that no one is truly indispensable because in the workforce everyone is replaceable.)