There is a common phrase most friends, family members and colleagues have offered those embarking on their career.
In order to help you secure your job and position yourself for bigger and better things, the majority of people have been told to ‘make yourself indispensable’; however, it seems that this piece of career advice could be one of the worst ways in which someone can advance themselves in their career.
According to Quartz Executive Coach May Busch, she shares that when you are successful in one role, most people can’t imagine you doing anything else and won’t want you to do anything else. With your manager relying on you and your ability to get the job done, selling yourself as ‘indispensable’ can put you at risk of being pigeonholed.
So how can you perform to a high standard without getting caught up in the indispensable trap? The key, according to Busch, is to be indispensable for what you can become and not what you currently do. She goes on to share four ways to do that:
Help others see you in a different light
It’s important that you showcase your abilities and that there is more to you than one dimension. Therefore, if colleagues or managers only see you as carrying out ‘behind the scenes’ duties, invite them to a meeting where they can see you truly performing. Plus, it is also worth embracing and taking on new challenges so people can see your potential.
See yourself in a different light
“The longer you stick in the comfort zone of the role where you’re indispensable, the harder it will be to envision yourself doing something else,” Busch writes. Instead, challenge yourself to see yourself in a different light and look for new opportunities where you can develop and learn new capabilities.
Prepare for the next level
To get ahead, the best way to prepare is by investing in yourself and your own personal development. Think about the skills and experiences you want to explore and take time out to actively pursue them. Network and talk with others to find out what it takes and the things they wished they’d done to prepare themselves and as such what can prepare you for the next step in your career.
Make yourself move-able
Building a wealth of talent behind you is a sure-fire way to get senior members of staff to feel comfortable moving you to the next level of your role that you aspire to achieve. “If you can create your own back-fill, managers won’t feel as anxious promoting you,” Busch concluded.