You’ve taken a lot of training, read many books, worked extra hours, and know your company’s systems inside and out. You do all that you can possibly do to make yourself vitally important to your employer, but are you irreplaceable? The short answer is – no. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here’s why.
Any company worth its salt is going to take steps to ensure that no one is irreplaceable. As much as you may want to bemoan ‘big corporations’ for this, the reasoning is not so malicious. It’s not a matter of keeping the little guy down, but rather an issue of self-preservation of the company and its employees.
It’s possible that you may have heard of the “bus factor” or “bus rule”, which goes a little something like the following – “If any member of the team were to get hit by a bus tomorrow, could someone immediately step in and do their job?” It may sound morbid, but it applies employees taking extensive leave or just finding a new job. The point of this ‘rule’ is that information and process should be documented and shared so that if something unexpected happens to an employee, the remaining team members can step in and keep things moving along. This helps the company as well as all of the employees – including you.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t bother trying to make yourself valuable to your employer? Of course not! Replacing someone is expensive and time consuming, so most companies are going to try to avoid it as long as they can. While you can’t – and shouldn’t – make yourself irreplaceable, you can and should keep yourself valuable. Doing so helps your team, your company, and most importantly – yourself.