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4 Ways To Make Yourself Indispensable To Your Employer No Matter What The Economy

Arthur Cooper -- If the moment arises when some of the employees have to go, make sure that your company simply cannot afford to let you be one of them.

In difficult economic times everyone is potentially subject to being "downsized" or "outplaced" -- what in less politically correct (mealy mouthed?) days used to be called redundancy.

For some people unhappy with their work this can present a golden opportunity, and also the push necessary to go and do what they would really like. This is especially true if they receive a decent financial pay-off. Many will say (with hindsight) that it was the best thing that ever happened to them.

However, for the majority of workers redundancy is something to be feared and avoided. It can happen at the wrong time, without warning, and without much of a financial buffer.

So how to you avoid it happening to you?

Here are four suggestions to help you make yourself indispensable to your employer, so that the company needs you more than you need it.

1. Become an expert.

Become an expert in some essential field of activity. Become THE expert. Get yourself known as the first and obvious person to turn to on anything to do with your chosen subject. Read all you can about the subject. Speak on the subject whenever you are given the chance, at meetings and in presentations. Publish internal reports, making sure that the circulation list includes the top management.

Make sure that your subject is essential to the company -- to its manufacturing process, to its sales methods, to its essential competitive edge, to its debt collection. Whatever it is, make sure that you are widely accepted as THE expert.

2. Build your contacts.

In a way this is related to the preceding point. You must get to know who needs your expertise and you must make sure that they know that you are the expert. The better contacts you have and the more informal they are, the better position you will be in.

But contacts are important too for the information they can give to you. If you are faced with a problem you should know straight away whom to contact. Without wasting time you can go straight to the source of the knowledge and return with the solution. In this case you are not the expert, but you know who is. You don't have to be the expert, but you can always find the solution. You become a vital asset to a company. A person with the answers.

3. Remember the past.

During your time at the company take note of what happens. File it away mentally or in writing. Remember the methods that have worked and remember the methods that have failed. See WHY they have worked or have failed and learn. Learn from other people's mistakes and don't make them yourself. In this way become a source of wise and reliable advice. Become someone who is listened to, someone whom others turn to. In other words become a steadying influence when times become hard and people start to panic.

4. See the whole picture.

Look at the company as a whole. Don't get immersed so much in your own narrow field that you fail to see the complete picture. Understand what is going on in the world at large. Understand the events that influence your own company's performance in the market place. Understand the pressures under which the top management is working. Anticipate what will be needed. Anticipate the changes that will inevitably have to be made. Be an active player in those changes, not a passive object swept up by them.

In all of this the essential point is that you must be of real and genuine value to your company. Downturns will come. Business will ebb and flow. This is what happens in the real world. And if the moment arises when some of the employees have to go, make sure that your company simply cannot afford to let you be one of them.

Arthur Cooper is an author and publisher. To subscribe to his mailing list of articles by email send a blank message to: or go to

© 2004 Arthur Cooper

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