You will be fired from your job. For sure. Either that or you can gather up enough courage to venture out on your own. The society that we have been in for the past 150 years is changed. While school and the work environment raises people to believe that diligent work and dedication to those above us (teachers, bosses, etc) would grant us a a secure job. That, as many people are finding out, is an expired idea. It’s not a debate, it simply is. You can either ignore that fact or you can do something about it.
The people who are in a good position today in their career, are those people who are not just good workers. They provide a value that goes above and beyond their job description. And that does not mean working more hours. These people operate above the training manual and it’s these people that are irreplaceable to their employer. They are what Seth Godin refers to as linchpins.
We’re all busy people. Most office job workdays are 8+ hours with most of that time being busy work. At least in my experience, office work has a solid 2-3 hours of productivity and the rest of the time is useless. We work more hours than we should be, or even need to be. Being a linchpin isn’t about doing more work. It’s about working smarter. About doing more of the important parts.
It’s easy to mentally justify three hours a day on Twitter. It’s “networking” right? Well, it’s going to be more productive if you sit down and call that potential client. That’s a more effective use of your time. This is a very easy trap to fall into. “I’m marketing my brand online by responding to comments.” True, but if I don’t have the company’s work done, then what am I even marketing? (My actual motivation to write this post was spending 3 hours tweeting today when a new article hasn’t been posted for two weeks)
Now here’s a pitfall of this concept. Don’t get good at something that will lock you to your current position. Do not build up your skill set to build your widget on the assembly line quicker, build up your skillet with interpersonal skills. Skills that will be beneficial at higher levels. Don’t get so good at your menial tasks that you become stuck in your current role with no chance of promotion.
Seth really hones in on core concepts of what makes people invaluable to companies. Linchpin is a great introduction to the theory and provides solid examples that you can follow. If you’ve read the sections here about Business and Entrepreneurship, then you may have no desire for job security, but if you still want it anyway, this shows you how to make sure you can’t ever be fired. You can choose to provide more than what your job description and training manual tell you to do. Choose to do that, and the new world order will reward you.