“No one is indispensable. It’s just to what degree are you harder to replace” says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job
In his 2015 biography “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” Ashlee Vance, veteran technology journalist, shares the story of how Musk stopped working with his longtime executive assistant in early 2014.
After working with him for 12 years, the assistant, Mary Beth Brown, asked Musk for a significant raise. In his response, Musk told her to take two weeks off – period he needed to assume her responsibilities and see if she was really critical to his success. When Brown returned after two weeks, Musk told her he didn’t need her anymore, but he still offered her another position at the company. Brown refused and never returned to the office again.
Maybe it sounds a pretty extreme example but it’s a solid lesson in acknowledging your position in the company and see how worth you are to the organization.
Business Insider talked to Lynn Taylor and she shared a few strategies for assessing your value before someone else does it for you.
1. Do an “audit” of your responsibilities. Take 15 minutes and think about your responsibilities and what exactly you’re working on. “Could a temp do what you’re doing and keep your boss happy?” Taylor said. If the answer is “yes” or even “maybe,” you might need to step up your game.
2. Make your boss need you, not just have you on board. Think about that: “What makes [your boss] successful and how can you align yourself with that?”
3. Ask your boss whether you’re adding enough value to the organization. Don’t wait for your next performance review, Taylor said. While you’re discussing some other project, you can say, “By the way, I want to make sure that I’m really providing the most value-added work that I can. I know you have a lot on your plate — are there any areas that I could work on, on my time, that would help make your job easier?”
4. Come prepared with specific examples of how you could help. For instance, if you know your boss has been working on a tough project and you have some solid research experience from your last job that could be an asset to this project.
To sum up: Try to make yourself an integral part of the company’s success. What happens after that is out of your control.