Consistently Provide Value

Future proof your job by adding consistent value. Value is the universal language of commerce and prosperity. When you have something of value to offer someone, that person is willing to in turn pay for that value. In the workplace, this usually happens through either salary or hourly pay. Whatever amount is negotiated to represent the value of the work provided, you’d then expect to be paid.

Hourly rates and negotiated salaries are not the sole representations of value. Among two people ready to do the same work, for instance, an employer may find one person’s skills more valuable either because they bring additional training or perhaps more enthusiasm to the work. On the worker’s side, two available jobs offering the same pay may not have equal value. One job may require too many hours commuting, or worse, promise a stifling work culture led by an extremely unpleasant boss. If a comparable, more pleasant role is available at the same pay, there is little doubt which job the worker would consider more valuable.

Value still means more to us than contractual relationships like rate of pay, job titles and hours worked. We scan our surroundings for value across several areas of our daily lives on a routine basis. Some may think of this as that well-known mantra that we are usually seeking the “What’s in it for me” value in everything we consider. However, I’m not looking at this from such a cynical perspective. We seek value because it makes sense. And in return, we learn to share value as well. It’s a mature, productive way to conduct ourselves.

Look for Opportunities

If you want to future proof your job, look for opportunities to add value. Look for ways to add value in every activity rather than waiting only for the big moments. Recognition may not happen—or if it does, it may vanish quickly. You add value to be a better you and to serve the world around you.

Whatever your expertise or function is, what you bring to the table matters for the whole picture. You may not be recognized or readily appreciated. That part is inconsequential in the grand scheme. You are here for purpose and contribution. Don’t miss your opportunities. Do what you can. Career coaching can help you identify opportunities and develop a personal action plan to future proof your job.

Your Self-Worth will Grow

This is as important for your well-being as for the company and society. When you contribute, you increase your own self-worth and esteem. In the act of contributing, you are fulfilling a part of who you are and participating in relationship and community with others. When you provide value–even in seemingly small ways–you add value to your own life. It’s a truth you have undoubtedly noticed and experienced more than once.

If you’re worried about how you add value, either because of a limiting boss or toxic boss, I encourage you to have heart. There are ways. Your focus belongs in two areas: 1.) In your area of knowledge expertise; and 2.) On other people. Forget your boss and forget your unmet expectations. Who or what can you help today?

At times it can be deceptively simple. Suppose you have a colleague who is less adept at you with a software program such as Microsoft Excel or Salesforce? When you notice they are taking extra steps to complete tasks you could do simpler, or that they are visibly stressed from completing their tasks, what can you do?

If you jump in and help, you can make their week. By showing them short cuts or training them in processes, you can make their day run more smoothly and efficiently. At the same time, you can help the team and the organization meet goals more effectively by leaning into the situation. Things can run more smoothly–and more profitably–because of you.

Build Value Regardless of Recognition

It may be that nobody except your grateful colleague will notice. He or she may be the only soul who thanks you and recognizes your contribution. That’s okay. If you remove your expectations for more, it won’t matter. Sincere appreciation and honest contribution are all you need. Life happens person to person. When you help a colleague you elevate your own self-image. It really can be that simple.

You can also add value by asking others (including your manager and your co-worker) how they might need help on any given day. You may be surprised how few times a person is offered help throughout the day. Don’t be surprised if, without specifics, people first say that no help is needed. It’s a natural reflex to turn away help when the task at hand is either simple or deemed too complex to explain. The fastest way around this is to simply offer specific help on a project or program you know something about.

Add value. Every day. Make the workday easier for someone. Help your boss shine. Your contributions matter. Every time.

For more tips on career self management, read the book, Career Happiness Starts with You.

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