Do You Feel Replaceable at Work?


You like your laptop. It gets the job done. But lately, the “u” key has been sticking and it runs slower than the newer models. About time to buy a new one and toss the old one out.

Hopefully, you have more staying power in your workplace than the average laptop. But it can be a scary thing. Modern corporate culture can sometimes emphasize interchangeability; people treated little better than average electronics equipment. Most workers, in most situations, can easily get swapped out for someone with nearly identical training and experience.

It doesn’t give the average worker much leverage and creates a precarious situation if a company gets to the point where layoffs or cutbacks are needed.

So, the question becomes: When you look around your workplace, do you feel replaceable? Could they swap you out for someone else tomorrow and not miss a beat?

If the answer is “yes,” take some action. Here are four steps you can take to make yourself irreplaceable in your workplace:

Answer the Call

It’s 4:30 p.m. on Friday and your boss puts out a call for volunteers. A project needs to get completed by Monday, so she’s hoping a few people can stay late and maybe come in on Saturday. Do you slink off to the bathroom and hide in a stall until the recruitment is over? Or do you put your name out there first?

Becoming an irreplaceable employee takes some sacrifice. You might have to surrender some free time and do tasks you’d rather avoid. But, in the end, you make your position more secure and open the door to more opportunities down the road.

Cultivate Special Skills

The question of replaceability comes down to a competition. You are stacked against anyone else who would want your job … all those people out there who would gladly replace you. You need a reason why you deserve the job more than them.

You must differentiate yourself from the pack. To do that, you should develop specialized skills. If you’re the only person in the office who can accomplish a particular task, management will have a hard time throwing you overboard.

Build a Constituency

Treat the workplace like a politician treats their constituency. The more connections you have, the more tightly knit into the company’s fabric you become.

Ultimately, decisions are made by people. Getting more of your bosses and co-workers on your side will make you a centerpiece in the office. Plus, the network you build might come in handy later in your career, even after you’ve left your current position.

Keep Learning

Today, you might be invaluable. But it’s pretty easy to find yourself completely expendable tomorrow.

Think about athletes. Worth tens of millions of dollars in their prime, but within a few years, they can become unable to compete. Age, declining skills, injury – a once great athlete can fade into retirement very quickly.

For your situation, this has less to do with physical qualities and more to do with skills. Technology develops quickly. Not keeping up with evolving trends can leave you on the outside looking in.

When you have a position you love, it’s easy to find the motivation to become irreplaceable. DHR specializes in finding people the perfect placements for their skills and talents. Contact them today to find out more.

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