We all feel the need to be the best at what we do. It is this same drive (and the fear of being fired) that makes people want to become irreplaceable at work. You strive to become the best at your job and are always looking for an opportunity to showcase tasks that only you can succeed in.
But is this struggle to become irreplaceable really worth it? Juma Mwema was recently fired from his 15-year job and is clueless on what next. He is also still in shock because in all his tenure, he did not imagine anyone would do his job better. It turns out the company thought otherwise.
While you may feel the need to become irreplaceable and always know for sure that you will not be in the list of lay off, striving to become irreplaceable can be a bad thing.
Here are ways the struggle to become irreplaceable at work can ruin your career:
1. You believe losing the job you have is not an option: Everyone wants to feel secure in their jobs. No one wants to work in a company where there is constant reminder that any day they could lose the job they have and go back to the drawing board. But striving to become irreplaceable at work can lead to your career stalling. When you know you can’t be fired, you tend to relax in your job and not look for other options.
Like Juma, you never know when your company gets tired of you. Since you had not considered your options for a time when you get fired, frustration and depression will easily kick in when you can’t find jobs.
2. Career growth becomes just another phrase: Unless you want to be in your position forever (and this is not advisable), you will want to move up the career ladder. You will want to get exposure in different fields, new environments and explore different cultures. This cannot happen when you are irreplaceable at your job. You become fixated on not messing up or giving your boss a reason to doubt your value that you forget the importance of growth. Staying in your position too long will only make potential employers wonder what is wrong about you. This could deny you jobs.
3. You’ll probably never get that promotion: When you become the only person who can do the job, chances are your employer will not want to change that fact. Even when you are suitably qualified and experienced for a job higher in rank than the one you have, your employer will always want to hire somebody else instead. Why? Because you are the best at what you do and a promotion will only mean the boss has to find someone else. They don’t want this.
4. Your chance of getting other jobs is very slim: When you focus on being irreplaceable at work you forget about the real world. You forget that jobs keep changing and responsibilities for the same job in other companies are different. You forget about the need to add more skills to your qualifications because you get too comfortable. When this happens, if you ever feel the need to get another job, it might be harder for you to get one.
Instead of striving to be irreplaceable, how about focus on giving value and learning something new everyday? (Source Careerpoint Kenya)