The only way to survive in today’s job market is to become indispensable.
Inflation is rising at an unprecedented rate. The labor market is competitive. Diversity quotas are pushing men away from the workplace.
So, if a man doesn’t take the necessary steps to become indispensable he may very well find himself out of the job.
The Myth of the Alphapreneur
Many men’s websites would like to sell you the idea that a real man is a man with an entrepreneurial spirit. But fact is, less than 10% of American workers are entrepreneurs.
The vast majority of men find employment. This will never change.
Gainful, honest, respectable employment has everything to do with being a man.
If you weren’t built to have your own hustle, that’s fine.
The essential parts of being a man are owning your life, fulfilling your obligations and being responsible for your family.
Give me a hardworking, honest, blue collar working stiff over some self-employed shyster any day of the week.
This world runs on the backs of men who show up to work and “do” as part of a team. It doesn’t operate on the backs of solopreneurs who are only out for themselves.
So the first step to become indispensable is to take pride in your work, wherever you may work.
You will never become essential to your job without commitment.
If you are the type to complain about the boss, your job, and your co-workers you will never be essential or indispensable.
“An ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.”
The point is, if you are going to complain and gripe about your job, then quit.
As long as you are part of a team, job or project, you must never disparage it.
Talking down about your boss or your place of work is only talking down about yourself.
You are a part of where you work, and your work is a part of you. So if you’re talking some trash about your job, you’re only trash talking yourself.
If it’s that bad, leave.
But if you are the type to talk trash anyway, the first thing you need to do is change that about yourself.
Find some daily affirmations, or read some self-help books, and get your mind right.
The man who trashes his company is saying more about himself than he is about the place that he works.
Initiative doesn’t just mean doing things on your own. It means doing the right things without being told.
It may take some time when new on a job to figure out what the right things are. But even if you don’t know them, it is essential that you only need to be told once.
The man who doesn’t do something until he is told twice is whatever.
He who needs to be forced and threatened to work is trash.
The person who can’t be trusted and has to be constantly supervised is both trash, and dangerous.
The only surefire way to become indispensable is to do the right things without being told to, or to only need to be told to do something once.
Having initiative means you don’t ask annoying questions
When given a task to perform on the job you can earn high marks, praise and respect by never asking follow-ups.
You want to cultivate a complete air of competence no matter what you do.
You can’t accomplish that by cultivating the air of an unpaid intern.
This means not asking questions if you can avoid it.
If the boss says he wants you to itemize all the expenses of a certain project, for God’s sake don’t ask him if he wants it on a spreadsheet, and then ask him how to arrange the columns.
Don’t ask him if he wants it hard or soft copy. Don’t even ask him “which project is that?” or “who should I contact for that information?”
If you want to become indispensable, the only appropriate response to receiving a task is “Okay.”
Then you go and you find out how to do it and do it.
If you have questions, ask an equal or an underling. Or, for example, find out on your own who you need to talk to for the information you need. In the above example, you can also go find similar reports that others have done to see how the boss likes it.
Let’s say the boss says, “get me some coffee.” Don’t ask the man how he likes it. Find out some other way.
Be mysterious about your ability to somehow, some way, always know how to get something done, and then do it.
The worst time to ask the boss how he wants something done is when he wants you to do something no one has done before. Because he doesn’t know what he wants – no one has ever done it!
This is your opportunity to take real initiative.
Don’t squander the opportunity by asking the boss to tell you how to do it.
This leads us to…
Create essential workflows only you can manage
Your mysterious ability becomes essential ability when you start managing work that no one has had to do before.
The boss asking you to do something new is the perfect time to put in place systems of your own creation that no one else can manage.
Suddenly, you are “the guy who does xyz.”
“We can’t get rid of him because he handles all the xyz’s and no one knows how to do that!”
This also gives you leverage when it comes time to ask for a raise or a promotion.
You and your mysterious x factor to getting things done, along with the fact that no one else knows how to do xyz?
Doing the above means nothing if no one knows you do it.
Make sure your boss knows when you’ve done something.
If there’s an amusing anecdote about some barrier you had to overcome in getting it done, mention it on the sly.
Don’t force it into the conversation, but definitely make it known – with a laugh! You never want to come across complaining.
You can even mention things like putting in extra hours or staying up late. I don’t recommend doing that until you at least have positive feedback.
The worst thing to do is hand your boss something he thinks is trash and say, “I spent all night working on this!”
Wait for the positive feedback, and then slide in a “Amazing what three Red Bulls can do at 5 AM! haha!”
He’ll appreciate that because if he’s a real boss, then he’s the boss for a reason and that reason usually includes late nights and copious caffeine.
There isn’t a lot out there on how to market yourself as a single working person.
But all the laws and rules of marketing apply just as well to a person as they do to any company or brand.
Just take those laws and translate them to apply to a single person and you’ll be set.
Promote yourself by flaunting your good work.
Lean on your team and let them lean on you
A man on the job is nothing without his mates.
You’ll need them just as much as they will need you.
Make every effort to set a good example, uplift your boys and help them do the above.
Part of this is never allowing them to disparage the job in front of you. You want everyone on your team to be on board with the team.
Even if you aren’t the boss, you can still be a leader – even if it’s only by example.
Attitude at work
This isn’t as important as you might think.
It is always a good idea to be helpful to your peers, polite, and all that.
But even an ill-tempered employee, who is loyal and steadfast – with great initiative – is worth three times his weight in gold over a polite and well-mannered bum.
But you know what?
Some nice looking, cheerful broad is going to show up one day.
And you know what else? She read this article too!
And she’s going to take them legs and her perky, chipper, friendly attitude, and with this advice, she’s going to put you right out of the job!
So, you may want to start cultivating some people skills – just saying!
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