Are you too essential at your job?

The best advice for this situation is to avoid it at all costs.  Early in my career I had a manager who told me his goal was to make himself expendable.  If he got me trained so well that I could handle his job, they would have to find something new for him to do – and they did!  He was a very enlightened manager and progressed well in his career because he always had someone ready to step in and take over his current role.

I also worked for a VP of Finance who constantly reminded staff that any of us could be hit by a bus including him.  His point was that the business would go on without us but that we should have process and procedures documented in case someone else had to step in.

Both true stories.

In reality, there are times that people become so good at what they do that they seem to own it for life.  This inhibits career growth for the individual.  If you are in the situation here are some tips to consider:

  • Let your manager know that you are very interested in taking on new responsibilities.
  • Suggest a plan to train others on the team on what you do so well.
  • Document your process and procedures so you can assist others in learning the job.
  • Develop a plan to phase out gradually so others are learning from you while you do less and less of this work on a daily basis.
  • If your manager is not open to this, remind him that if you were to give your notice tomorrow they would have to find a solution in the next two weeks.  You would prefer to stay with the company and are willing to offer a longer transition period.  Don’t threaten, let them know you want to stay but tactfully  point out the reality.  Or, you could be hit by a bus.
  • Employees should not to penalized for doing their job very well.  They should be given opportunities to grow.
  • Absolutely do not let the quality of your work suffer.  High quality work is your ticket to more responsibility.

See more in the article “Are you too essential at your job?” by Debra Auerbach on The Work Buzz!

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One thought on “Are you too essential at your job?

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