Ten ways to make yourself indispensable: don't wait too late to take steps that can help you demonstrate your value now, by Stephen Abram. Information Outlook / Jan-Feb, 2012
"You've probably noticed that there are some people who seem to survive every organizational restructuring. As for me, I've been through too many to remember--survived some and didn't make it out the other side on others. By some counts, there have been no fewer than 14 downturns in my professional career. These swings in the economy have burnished me and, ironically, made me less dependent on employers for my self-worth or finances.
I was inspired recently by an article from Black Enterprise ("10 ways to make yourself indispensable at work") that was shared with me. I've adapted its 10 points for library land, but the original can be read without translation, too. As the article notes, barring situations of collective bargaining (where the rules can be prescribed), there are things you can do and should do precisely when you don't need a job right away:
1. Take ownership of all your responsibilities by seeing your role in the context of the entire enterprise and community
2. Take personal responsibility for your professional development and career preparedness.
3. Define your value and, most importantly, tend to your personal and professional network.
4. maintain a visibly positive attitude while protecting your job
5 Become a Renaissance person.
6 Find an important, strategic task that you know how to do better and faster and less expensively than anyone else.
7 Don't stick your head in the sand.
8. Excel in an area in which your boss is weak.
9. Become an organizational star by being a spokesperson at community events and professional association meetings.
10. Be an effective team player. Be independent internally, but always present a united front externally and support your boss and the team" Continue reading the full article or here
Stephen Abram, MLS is Vice President, strategic partnerships and markets for Gale Cengage Learning. He has been VP Innovation for SirsiDynix and Chief Strategist for the SirsiDynix Institute.
Stephen is an SLA Fellow and the past president of the Ontario Library Association, SLA and the Canadian Library Association. In June 2003 he was awarded SLA’s John Cotton Dana Award. He received the AIIP Roger Summit Award in 2009 and Outstanding Teacher Award from the U of Toronto iSchool oin 2010. He is the author of Out Front with Stephen Abram and Stephen’s Lighthouse blog.
On the same shelf (what others say about this article):
"Whether or not one is able to promote one's value independently of one's library's value, I think Abram's main point of becoming indispensable is a good one. In an Information Age, it seems almost silly that a librarian has to prove his or her value, but that is the world we live in. If we want libraries (especially small, corporate libraries) to continue, librarians have to become indispensable." Kristin Johnstone