The way I define assets has changed. I formerly thought of an asset as something that held value – a vehicle, a home, a piece of equipment, furniture, or a piece of real estate. My definition of an asset has changed to “anything that produces a stream of income, particularly if it produces income that outpaces the rate of inflation.” Under that definition, very few items cut the mustard. A paying job is the one thing that always qualifies as an asset, especially in a recessionary environment. But a “job” isn’t tangible – YOU are the asset, and increasing your value at work is the surest way to secure your future.
Learning strategies, techniques, and tactics to increase your value in your boss’s eyes is something that we all should be undertaking. In all reality, losing your job at this point would be disastrous for the average person, since few employers are interested in growing their staff or increasing their payroll. Increasing your value should be high on the priority list!
How to make yourself more valuable
1. Learn a new language. There’s a very good chance your company is international or is affected by international events, or deals in some way with international customers, suppliers or vendors. If you’re the only person at your company fluent in Mandarin Chinese and you frequently purchase goods from China, your value just skyrocketed. If your company frequently sells to Latinos, learning to speak Spanish, when highlighted against the backdrop of your experience with the company, will make you stand out from your peers.
2. Further your education. Advancing your career by getting more education is how countless thousands have already made themselves more valuable at work. The fact is, by brushing up on skills valued by your employer, you automatically increase your own value. There are endless possibilities to further your education with schools such as Colorado Tech that all offer online programs. You can advance your career while still working WITHIN your career.
3. Enhance your critical skills. Could there be a more important skill than time management? When you learn to plan your weeks and organize your days based on your highest priorities, you’ll discover the peace of mind that comes from having a clear goal and a path to reach that goal. You’ll enjoy the well-being that results from a life in order. Your personal organization skills are obvious to most people in your company and using tools such as those offered by Franklin Covey, will help you be more organized and look it.
4. Broaden your contacts. Make sure you’re a recognized presence within your company. If you’re a nobody to everybody, then no one will miss you and you’re more likely to be on the next list of lay offs. Set up networking contacts in as many levels of your company as possible, from the entry level newbie to the administrative folks all the way up to the executives. When the boss is forced to make a decision about you or your position, your colleagues will have you in mind not only as someone that’s pleasant to have around, but will also be more likely to speak up about your positive contributions within the organization.
5. Network outside of your company. Your boss probably knows people in your industry outside your company, so should you. Network with other people inside your industry as well as with those in other industries. Being well connected means you call on others to help you bring more ideas and innovation to your own firm. After all, those are the only things that truly separate one firm from another. Join the Lion’s Club, Rotary, or some other local civic organization and get involved. Ask to speak to the group about your company and it’s accomplishments. Become the “face” of your company and your value will increase rapidly.
6. Cultivate your work ethic. Designate at least one day per week to come in earlier than everyone else and one night per week to work later than everyone else. Write it in your calendar and stick to it, but make certain you’re using self discipline to get something accomplished during that time (a smokin’ game of solitaire doesn’t count). If you can manage to impress your boss with your proactive attitude, you’ll be much less likely to figure in the next round of pink slips. A good attitude and a strong work ethic do more than just preserve your role within whatever capacity you’re currently working – if your position is no longer necessary, you might be asked to stay on in a different capacity simply because you’ve proven to be an asset who produces desired results.
7. Make sure your boss is never blind-sided. Nothing can ruin your day like getting hit with a massive problem from out of the blue. If you have the slightest inkling about something negative on the horizon, make sure your boss knows about it. Never allow him or her to get waylaid, especially by his or her boss. Office politics is all about saving face and if you can help your boss avoid embarrassment or negative surprises, you’re a much more valuable employee.
8. Be the employee you would like to hire. Doesn’t this one sum it all up? Put yourself in your boss’s shoes and ask what qualities you would like in an employee. Then do your best to emulate those qualities in your work life.
Today, a job is a lifeline and it’s vitally important to move between careers on your own terms rather than have those terms forced upon you because you weren’t deemed as valuable as the person in the next cubicle. By taking steps to increase your value at work, you’ll be better able to keep your career on track and you’ll probably enjoy it more as well.