I am reading Seth Godin‘s book Linchpin, that I originally heard about through a NY Creative Interns recommendation. Right now I’m really into learning and reading as much about entering the business world as possible (… as much as I find not-boring), and Seth Godin falls right in there. If you’ve never heard of Seth Godin, he’s an author and speaker who focuses on marketing, with a penchant for supporting the creative industry. He also runs one of the most popular marketing blogs in the world. (Check it out. Its, um, pretty good.) Anyway, the book talks a lot about, not necessarily needing to change your job, but being indispensable in the workplace.
It got me thinking about stuff.
To me, the guts of the book emphasize: whenever you are working anywhere, it essential to input your identity and creativity into your work, because that is what makes you indispensable. Its essential to do this, not just because it feels good, or creates a better experience for you, or makes you happier with your job, but because it is better for the company and makes you necessary.
Making yourself ‘indispensable’ means that if you left, they could not replace you as you. I’m not saying they couldn’t get another nurse, junior graphic designer, store salesman. I’m saying that they could not have another person that could add to their company in the same way you could – with your unique perspective and background and identity and creativity. (Because I don’t care who you are, EVERYONE can be creative. And if you think you aren’t, then you are just either boxing in what you think ‘creative’ means, or being lazy.) Your ‘replacement’ could even be someone very good, but they could not replace you in the company. And that makes you ESSENTIAL to the company’s identity.
If you are a waiter, and you realize that its better to have all the wait-staff learn how to use the dishwasher incase the dishwashing worker goes to the bathroom and slows down the line, that’s creativity. If you work at a mill and realize that it’d be faster to work in relay than to carry materials back and forth, that is inputing your identity and creativity into your work.
What are some of your qualitites that make you indispensible? I think one of my best qualities is that I crave pushing the envelope, even when its easy to think realistically. (I try to never be ‘realistic’, coming from a too-much-feasibility, engineering background.) Tell me about some of your awesome traits and creativity in the workplace. :)