We often over-estimate our worth at work. Just look at the number of people who lose their jobs because of layoffs or downsizings or mergers, and you'll find a lot of them thought there was no way they would be let go. Maybe Slacker Suzy or Psycho Phil would be let go, but not them.
Then they find themselves out of work.
One of the keys to avoiding such a fate is to make sure that you're valuable to the boss and the company -- and never letting them forget it.
But such a strategy means more than just showing up for work on time and doing your job. The real way to show others that you're critical to the company's success is to:
- Show you understand it's about the bottom line. Before you submit a proposal or an innovative idea, show that the time and the money will be worth it. Use data or other information to show how it helps the organization, such as improving the customer experience.
- Look for ways to boost efficiency. Maybe you can’t figure out a way to generate extra money, but companies are always looking for ways to cut expenses. For example, with a little research you may discover ways to cut down on the air-conditioning bill.
- Serving as quality control. While you want to make sure you’re doing work that is as error-free as possible, you can become a critical employee if you’re able to stop ineffective or defective work by others. If you view even one mistake as critical to the company’s bottom line, management will begin to depend on you more and more.
- Hang on to customers. Even though you don't work with customers all the time, you come across one that is unhappy. Rather than passing her onto someone else, you find a way to give her a partial refund, which satisfies her and saves the company a full refund.
- Know what you cost. Experienced workers are more expensive. They not only earn more, but they often have accrued more vacation time or have higher healthcare costs. Your position can become more precarious when you take more from the bottom line, which is why it’s important to make sure you’re finding ways to pay for your position by either generating more business or finding cost savings.
- Document it. Make sure you get credit for your contributions by sending e-mails or making reports that show when you made the suggestion. This not only helps your current job, but can be key proof for future employers that you can deliver what you promise on your abilities.