Making Yourself Indispensable in the Workplace

get in the spotlightWarning: this article contains a lot of ways to suck up to management. These kind of tips won’t help your chances of curing cancer, but they might help you get a little extra boost in your career.

There are a host of reasons you may have for wanting to impress your boss (a promotion or raise, a glowing reference, work perks), but the question of the day is whether or not putting in extra hours, bringing work home, and taking on more responsibilities is worth the value of making your boss think that you are a shining star among mere light bulbs. While effort is obviously required in order to be a stand-out employee, there are a number of ways to become an indispensable workplace presence without spreading yourself too thin.

1. More likely than not your boss is big on punctuality and consistently arrives at work on time. You can easily show your dedication to your job by always arriving at work and being prepared to begin your day by your official start time. Make a note of when your boss typically arrives at work and shoot for showing up about five minutes ahead of his or her regular time. And no matter how sleep-deprived and grumpy you may feel, slap a smile on your face and politely greet your boss every morning.

2. Though your workload may already be jam-packed you should seriously considering being among the first to volunteer for select, high-visibility projects that can help shape your bosses perception of your into one where you are seen as an eager person willing to branch out and take on responsibilities beyond your required duties. This also gives you some amount of control over any additional work you must complete by not simply taking what you boss assigns but speaking up and taking the tasks you want.

3. Everyone office has a “go-to guy;” that person who everyone turns to when toner is low, software stalls, papers get jammed, or incomprehensible error messages appear on fax machines. Even if it has nothing to do wither your regular job, make a small effort to learn the tech side of how the office runs. You know – learn where paper, ink, and toner are kept and how to properly install them into your office printer. Know how to use that million dollar software system that no one else does. And when you encounter an inevitable tech problem, take the time to learn the solution instead of simply ignoring the situation until a techie solves the problem. Tech know-how can be seen as life-saving: especially to a boss who has a printer gremlin show up before a big meeting.

4. This act will make you popular throughout your office, not just with your boss. Make the office coffee and, every once in a while, remark to your boss that you’re making it and ask if he or she would like a cup. Don’t become the person who run errands, but showing up with donuts once in a while never hurt anyone’s career. Be the person who brings life to the office and is fun and positive to be around. Unexpected small actions are fun and keep work life interesting.

5. Listen to your boss’s word choices when discussing business concerns and note any buzzwords that are used frequently. Assimilate them into your own vocabulary and use them in meetings and emails. This smart use of language helps to show your boss that you genuinely understand what he or she is after.

Working hard and performing well will always be the best method for success, but in order to reinforce positive perceptions and get the attention your deserve, these career tips offer a way to insert yourself into your boss’s routine without being overbearing or annoying.

in Career Advice]
Joshua Bjerke
Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.