In an age of economic uncertainty, being indispensable at work is crucial to job security. And while developing specific professional skills is important, some experts say that there are intangible factors that are even more important for your long-term success.
“If you’re interesting, people will remember you and want to work with you. You’ll get the call back; you’ll make the sale. And you’ll be better able to think your way out of trouble and into new territories,” says Jessica Hagy, author and illustrator of the new book, “How to Be Interesting (in 10 Simple Steps.)”
Hagy says that in today’s fast-paced world, there are steps you can take to avoid blending into the hum of the background:
• Go exploring: Explore ideas, places and opinions. The inside of the echo chamber is where all the boring people hang out.
• Chat: Don’t just keep your head down. Gain new perspectives by talking to everybody -- not just those who do what you do. No one has seen exactly what you have or has the same exact feelings as you. Find out why.
• Leave your comfort zone: Expose yourself to risk and wild ideas. It’s the only way to grow. If you’re not courageous, you’re going to be hanging around the water-cooler, talking about the guy who actually is.
• Offer to help: Seek out people who need your help. Know what you can do and tell people you’re willing to do it. They will remember you and talents. This is how people begin to fall in love with your work.
• Overstep your bounds: Just because it’s not in your job description doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Only you can really decide what league you really belong in. Get over your fears of making waves. Friction is a good thing.
• Be a link: Don’t just tell. Don’t just listen. Make introductions. Pass on what you know. Be the fulcrum upon which your organization turns.
• Have hobbies: Outside of work, read, study, and sign up for classes. Learn new things. You never know when you’ll need random knowledge or skills.
• Find a niche: The smaller the niche, the less room there is for copycats. If you want to be interesting, work with specifics, not generics.
• Leave the ego at home: If your arrogance is more obvious than your expertise, you are someone other people avoid.
More tips and information from Hagy can be found at www.How2BeInteresting.tumblr.com/.
Becoming great at your specific job description will only get you so far at work. If you want to become an indispensable member of the team, find a way to stand out positively.