Have you ever been laid off? I have. Six months into my first real job out of college, I was released so they could make room in the budget for a website developer. It was definitely not something I’d ever want to experience again. And I’m not the only one.
In a 2014 Los Angeles Times article, it was reported that 20% of U.S. workers were laid off between the years 2009 and 2014. That’s one in five people. Today, however, your chances of being laid off are the lowest than anytime in modern history.
But why take any chances? If you really want to avoid that severance check, take some steps to make yourself indispensable.
Keep Your Standards High
You should never settle for something that isn’t your best work, regardless of the project or assignment. Always show your boss that you have pride in what you do and keep your standards as high as possible.
Never Stop Learning
If you want to future-proof yourself, never stop learning. As technology continues to develop, the skills you need for your job will also continue to change. Learn what you need to change along with it so you’re never left behind.
Become an Expert
It’s hard to get rid of the person who’s so good at a particular task that the boss won’t entrust it to anyone else. Become an expert on a critical skill and they’ll have to think twice about cutting you loose. On the flipside, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Even if you’re the expert, if the work gets dropped or moved to another part of the company, you’ll be the expert of nothing.
Our jobs are constantly changing thanks to new technology and practices. So when new opportunities come up, don’t be afraid to take them. Learn new tasks and skills to put yourself in a better position to move forward with the company.
Don’t present problems to your boss without having a solution to fix it. It’ll show your initiative. Even if they go a different direction, they’ll see that you’re invested and trying to solve the problem.
The best thing you can do for your career is to always be honest. One of the best commendations I ever received from my upper management team was after I admitted I made a mistake on a big project. My director wrote me personally and told me it wasn’t always easy to admit when we were wrong but he was really thankful that I stepped up, owned the situation and committed to resolving it.
It doesn’t matter if it’s peer-to-peer or in a mentoring situation, building relationships is key to being well-connected within the organization. Also, keep in mind, no matter how close you become with your senior management, stay professional at all times.
In today’s marketplace, there’s no way to be truly indispensable. However, if you play your cards right and position yourself to be as important to the success of the company as you can be, you’ll make them think twice before parting ways with you.